ECB and the European Labour Market: “Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.” “Let’s Tighten.” “We Can’t.” Why Not?” “We’re Waiting for Wage and Price Increases”

Fabio Sdogati

2017 08 08

 

“But let me [Draghi] just make clear one thing: after a long time, we are finally experiencing a robust recovery, where we only have to wait for wages and prices to move towards our objective.”

The bottom line

By announcing that waiting is all that’s left to do in order to get wage and price inflation, the ECB shows that she has no clear idea as to how profound are changes that are affecting labor markets, nor about the effects that such changes have on the supposed effectivness of monetary policy. I submit that labor markets have been transforming in such a way that the chain of links growth-> wage inflation -> price inflation, has to a large extent broken down (Germany my be a partial exception). The implication is the same I, and many others, have been drawing for years: it is fiscal stimuli that generate growth-cum-wage-rises, not monetary stimuli. (Something, to be honest, Mr. Draghi points out, in politically correct terms, at every press conference.)

I have identified two parts in the introductory statement to the July 20 ECB president’s press conference: one, which few will object to my calling boring and repetitious: I will not discuss this part; and another, which I believe to be most interesting, and will therefore discuss in some detail.

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