This Selected Issues paper examines the impact of fast unit labor cost (ULC) growth in Estonia. ULCs in Estonia have now reached a level at which further unmitigated wage growth risks material damage to competitiveness and income convergence prospects with western Europe. This highlights the importance of making Estonia’s pro-productivity policies a success, but in the nearer term the onus is on mitigating excessive wage growth because in this area, Estonia, together with the other Baltics, distinguishes itself from the rest of central and eastern Europe. Tax policy can provide short-term relief.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on financing constraints and productivity in Estonia. The paper examines two questions: (1) is there evidence of financing constraints among Estonian firms; and (2) have financing constraints reduced firm-level total factor productivity (TFP)? These questions are particularly important in the current environment, in which credit growth in Estonia has slowed down considerably and firms may face increasing financing constraints that could dampen growth. The paper also provides empirical evidence on the existence of financing constraints among Estonian firms.