What is it about?

For several decades wages in mature economies have lagged behind the increase in labour productivity, contributing to increased inequality, in contrast with what had happened after WWII, until the mid-1970s. Looking at the data for 22 economies we find that the major factors behind poor wage growth have been persistently high unemployment and weakening pro-labour institution (weakening of Union's role, labour market de-regulation). Widening international trade and investments abroad also had a significant role. By contrast, technical innovations and ICT did not affect wage growth.

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Why is it important?

We discuss a very relevant topic by means of a rich and reliable empirical analysis. We also offer a comprehensive survey of the debates and empirical results up to now.


We were motivated by a desire to capture the major forces behind the unsatisfactory growth of labour (non-managerial) incomes, in the face of an empirical research that provided somewhat mixed results. I believe we reached robust results, which allow to highlight the major forces behind a general trend.

Antonella Stirati
Università degli studi Roma Tre

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This page is a summary of: The decoupling between labour compensation and productivity in high‐income countries: Why is the nexus broken?, British Journal of Industrial Relations, October 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/bjir.12713.
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