World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Price/wage spiral

Article Id: WHEBN0000788836
Reproduction Date:

Title: Price/wage spiral  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Inflation, Built-in inflation, Cost-push inflation, Stagflation, Roger Putnam
Collection: Inflation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Price/wage spiral

In macroeconomics, the price/wage spiral (also called the wage/price spiral or wage-price spiral) represents a vicious circle process in which wage increases cause price increases which in turn cause wage increases, possibly with no answer to which came first. It can start either due to high aggregate demand combined with near full employment[1] or due to supply shocks, such as an oil price hike. There are two separate elements of this spiral that coexist and interact:

  • Business owners raise prices to protect profit margins from rising costs, including nominal wage costs, and to keep the real value of profit margins from falling.
  • Wage-earners try to push their nominal after-tax wages upward to catch up with rising prices, to prevent real wages from falling. To maintain purchasing power equal to the rising costs reflected by a consumer price index (CPI), a taxable salary must increase faster than the CPI itself to result in an after-tax wage increase comparable to the increased cost of goods and services - unless tax brackets are indexed.

So "wages chase prices and prices chase wages," persisting even in the face of a (mild) recession. This price/wage spiral interacts with inflationary expectations to produce long-lived inflationary process. Some argue that incomes policies or a severe recession is needed to stop the spiral.

The first element of the price/wage spiral does not apply if markets are relatively competitive.

The spiral is also weakened if labor productivity rises at a quick rate. Rising labor productivity (the amount workers produce per hour) compensates employers for higher wages costs while allowing employees to receive rising real wages, and while allowing the company's margin to stay the same.

References

  1. ^ "Theory 6 - Wage-price spiral - is inflation spiraling out of control?", Biz/ed
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.