Wages

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  • The pecuniary rewards for the use of units of labor. Wage rates may be determined by acquired skills, physical well-being, government, the market, employers, or trade unions. Wages can be inflexible because of nonmarket forces, and some economists believe that unemployment can be explained in part by wage rigidity (inflexibility—that is, the failure to achieve equilibrium in the labor market). Rigidity is caused by minimum wage laws, unions and collective bargaining, and efficiency wage.

    Governments may stipulate the minimum wage that should be paid and, by so doing, can create a permanent surplus. Unions influence the wage rate that should be paid by management through collective bargaining, and the efficiency wage keeps the wage rate above the market clearing value to induce productivity and reduce a ...

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