January 1998

Wage Curve vs. Phillips Curve: Are There Macroeconomic Implications?

Karl Whelan


The standard derivation of the accelerationist Phillips curve relates expected real wage inflation to the unemployment rate and invokes a constant price markup and adaptive expectations to generate the accelerationist price inflation formula. Blanchflower and Oswald (1994) argue that microeconomic evidence of a low autoregression coefficient in real wage regressions invalidates the macroeconomic Phillips curve. This conclusion has been disputed by a number of authors on the grounds that the true autoregression coefficient is close to 1. This paper shows that given the assumption of a constant price markup, micro-level real wage dynamics have no observable implications for macro data on wage and price inflation.

Full paper (192 KB Postscript)

Keywords: Inflation, wage curve, Phillips curve

PDF: Full Paper

Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

Back to Top
Last Update: February 12, 2021