enlargement, Europe, European Monetary Union, Financial sector, labour market, CASE Reports, CASE Network Studies and Analyses, unemployment, wage flexibility

Future EMU Membership and Wage Flexibility in Selected EU Candidate Countries


This paper attempts to evaluate wage rigidity related to risks of increased size and volatility of unemployment after the candidate countries enter the EMU. Such evaluation is done through the study of past labour market adjustment mechanisms and, in particular, the role played by the exchange rate movements and independent monetary policy. The paper examines some institutional and structural characteristics of candidate countries labour markets that could influence the wage elasticity. The analysis indicates that generally nominal wages are not flexible in candidate countries. Inflationary surprises and nominal exchange rate movements have an effect on the adjustment, especially during the Russian crisis. On the other hand fast productivity growth creates the environment in which unit labour can adjust to unfavourable labour market outcomes through moderation of real wage dynamics despite nominal stickiness. The paper indicates possible fields of further in-depth research in this area.