Wage-Price Spiral - Explained
What is the Wage Price Spiral?
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Table of ContentsWhat is the Wage-price Spiral?Wage-price Spiral and InflationHow a Wage-price Spiral BeginsStopping a Wage-price SpiralReal World ExampleAcademic Research for Wage-Price Spiral
What is the Wage-price Spiral?
The wage-price spiral is a theory that indicates the interrelationship between an increase in wages and an increase in prices of goods, it is otherwise known as inflationary spiral. It is a theory commonly used in the macroeconomic field. This theory represents a circle in which a rise in wages and prices mounts pressure on the economy, thereby causing inflation. An increase in wages has some effects such as increasing costs of goods, increasing consumer purchasing power, and increasing demands for commodities.
Wage-price Spiral and Inflation
The wage-price spiral is a theory in macroeconomics that reflects the consequential relationship between prices and wages as well as inflation, in that a rise in wages has an effect on the prices of goods. Once wages increase, the prices of goods follow suit, they also increase. The cause and effects of inflation are presented by the wage-price spiral.
How a Wage-price Spiral Begins
A wage-price spiral represents the relationship between demand and supply, as well as wages and prices. An inflationary spiral begins when there is an upward movement in price, thereby leading to people demanding a rise in wages. As prices of goods begin to increase, employees mount pressure on employers for increased wages but as soon as wages increase, the costs of goods become higher. Hence, the higher the prices of goods, the more workers ask for a rise in wages. In a wage-price spiral, a rise in wages leads to a rise in costs of goods and vice versa.
Stopping a Wage-price Spiral
There are few ways to stop a wage-price spiral, curbing a wage-price spiral is important to achieve stability in the economy. Government of most economies stop a wage-price spiral through many policies by the central bank or Federal Reserve. Some of the policies are monetary policy, interest rate, open market policy and reserve requirements, and other monetary policies.
Real World Example
Many countries have experience a wage-price spiral at one time or the other. One of the examples was the wage-price spiral that occurred in the United States in 1970, this was when OPEC increased the price of oil as a result of inflation occurring domestically. This inflation was curbed by the United States government using the monetary policy. When monetary policy is being used to curb inflation, central banks set a limit for inflation rate at that period. A recent study conducted in 2018 by many authors on Inflation Targeting concluded that rather than relying absolutely on monetary policy to stop wage-price spiral, decisions should be made by governments based on the happenings surrounding the inflation. Here are some important things to note about the wage-price spiral;
- The wage-price spiral reflects an incessant or persistent cycle where increase in wage cause a rise in price leading to inflation.
- There are a number of measures adopted by countries to curb the cause and effect relationship of increase in wage and increase in price peculiar in the wage-price spiral.
- Interest rates and open market policies and other monetary policies are some measures of preventing the effects of the wage-price spiral.