Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 9 No. 3 (Summer 1995)


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An Introduction to the Wage Curve

Article Citation

Blanchflower, David G., and Andrew J. Oswald. 1995. "An Introduction to the Wage Curve." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(3): 153-167.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.3.153


This paper documents a statistical regulatity or law. It shows that there exists a downward-sloping curve linking the level of a worker's pay to the unemployment rate in the worker's region. The same curve can be found in microeconomic data sets from sixteen countries. The existence of this curve raises doubts about conventional wisdom in labor economics, regional economics, and macroeconomics.

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Blanchflower, David G. (Dartmouth College and NB ER)
Oswald, Andrew J. (Centre for Econ Performance, London School of Econ)

JEL Classifications

J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J64: Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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