Greece and the Troika – Lessons from international best practice cases of successful price (and wage) adjustment

Tuesday, 23 May 2017
CEPS Working Documents
Downloaded 1,013 times

This paper reviews cases of successful price and wage adjustment, which are often regarded as constituting best practice, in Australia, Latvia and the German new states and contrasts them with the Greek experience under the Troika programmes. Latvia stands out as having had the quickest adjustment in wages. By contrast, before the crisis, Greek wages appeared to have been largely insensitive to labour market conditions but this changed with the programme. We find that the reaction of wages to unemployment in Greece under the programme was similar to that observed in Germany and Portugal (a case that has attracted less attention). A priori, it is likely that the change in wage behaviour in Greece was due to the labour market reforms imposed under the programme. But this cannot be proven beyond doubt.

Ansgar Belke is Ad personam Jean Monnet Professor for Macroeconomics and Director of the Institute of Business and Economic Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen. Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS. This study was previously published in the European Journal of Comparative Economics and is republished by CEPS with the kind permission of the journal.