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Wages, work intensity and unemployment in Japan, UK and USA

Darby, J. and Hart, R.A. and Vecchi, M. (2001) Wages, work intensity and unemployment in Japan, UK and USA. Labour Economics, 8 (2). pp. 243-258. ISSN 0927-5371

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the impact of excess labour supply on wage inflation in Japan, the US and the UK. Excess labour supply is not simply measured as officially registered unemployed persons but includes a measure of excess supply within the firm, i.e. work intensity. The empirical analysis confirms the importance of broadening the unemployment definition. Interesting differences arise in the cross-country comparison. Our key conclusions are that work intensity is an important factor in determining wage inflation, and that results based on recorded unemployment rates alone seriously underestimate the flexibility of real wages.