The paper reports how Czech firms reacted to changes in economic conditions in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 until 2013 and identifies specific patterns of employment, wage and price adjustment by firms. The results are drawn from a survey of firms conducted within the third wave of the ESCB Wage Dynamics Network (WDN3). Overall, while changes in demand were both positive and negative over the period, aggregate wage growth remained low, although more firms experienced an increase in average productivity over labour costs than a decline. Labour cost reduction was achieved mainly by reduction of new hires and by individual layoffs. The main obstacles to hiring workers were uncertainty about economic conditions, high payroll taxes and a shortage of labour with the required skills. The frequency of wage changes was lower in 2010–2013 than before and was attributed by firms inter alia to stronger competition. Wage freezes and wage cuts were still in use, while wage growth was more likely to be observed in very small and large firms and firms with a foreign owner. The frequency of price changes in 2010–2013 compared to 2008–2009 remained unchanged for more than 80% of firms. More frequent price changes were due to stronger competition and volatility in demand, while exchange rate changes contributed to higher frequency of price changes on foreign markets.
JEL codes: C83, J31, J41, L11
Keywords: Downward wage rigidity, price setting, survey data, wage setting
Issued: December 2015
Download: RPN No. 1/2015 (pdf, 455 kB)