Wage setters take into account the future consequences of their current wage choices in the presence of downward nominal wage rigidities. Several interesting implications arise. First, a closed-form solution for a long-run Phillips curve relates average unemployment to average wage inflation; the curve is virtually vertical for high inflation rates but becomes flatter as inflation declines. Second, macroeconomic volatility shifts the Phillips curve outward, implying that stabilization policies can play an important role in shaping the trade-off. Third, nominal wages tend to be endogenously rigid also upward, at low inflation. Fourth, when inflation decreases, volatility of unemployment increases whereas the volatility of inflation decreases: this implies a long-run trade-off also between the volatility of unemployment and that of wage inflation.
The literature on the relationship between the unemployment rate and wage bargaining fails to separate the offsetting effects of a reduction in competition associated with centralized bargaining and the increased awareness of unemployment externalities. This paper uses OECD data to distinguish these effects. While wages have become more sensitive to changes in the unemployment rate in countries that have switched to centralized wage-bargaining arrangements, the industry wage is not particularly sensitive to internal factors (relative price and productivity shifts) in economies with centralized/industry-level bargaining arrangements. The latter effect dominates in terms of persistently high unemployment and weaker growth.