Wage drift

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Under wage drift (Engl. Wage drift) understand the macroeconomics either the difference between the amount paid in actual wages of wage and wage-gap called or the deviation of the change in the actual earnings (which you really get paid) by the change of negotiated wages (which in the collective agreements as Wages stand). The first definition thus relates to a wage difference, while the second aims to derive the wage difference.

Wage drift as a different change in actual earnings and collectively agreed earnings

The wage drift shows the extent to which changes in wages actually affect the wages of employees. For example, the increase or decrease of benefits above the collective bargaining agreement leads to an increase or decrease in the wage drift. A shift from collective bargaining to marginal employment also affects the wage drift.

Two examples: In 1973 the increase in actual earnings per employee in the economy as a whole was 1.5 percentage points higher than the increase in collectively agreed earnings. The wage drift was accordingly 1.5%. In 1975, actual earnings rose 1.5 percentage points less than collective wages. In this case, the wage drift is −1.5%.

The theoretical explanation assumes that the price level remains constant. In fact, however, the price level fluctuates, which leads to an acceleration or a delay in the adjustments on the labor market. In the course of the economy , it can be observed that with a certain time lag ( wage lag ), changes in money wages follow changes in the price level.

A positive wage drift can be observed above all when the competition for qualified workers is particularly strong due to economic conditions. A negative wage drift, on the other hand, can be observed more frequently in times of weak economic activity, for example when there is an oversupply of workers on the labor market.


  • B. Külp: The "dare-drift" in the light of modern wage theory. In: Economic Policy. Journal for Applied Business Cycle Research. 1963, p. 173 ff.
  • H. Gerfin: extent and effect of the wage drift. In: H. Arndt (Ed.): Wage Policy and Income Distribution. Berlin 1969, DNB 364352396 , p. 472 ff.
  • W. Meissner, L. Unterseher, (Ed.): Distribution struggle and stability policy. Terms of the tariff dispute. Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-17-231211-9 .

Web links

Single receipts

  1. ↑ Actual wages . In: The big Brockhaus in 12 volumes . 18th, completely revised edition. Wiesbaden 1978.
  2. Hagen Krämer : wage gap. In: Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon. Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
  3. a b R. Richter, U. Schlieper, W. Friedmann: Macroeconomics. An introduction. 4., corr. u. supplementary edition. Springer Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1981, ISBN 3-540-10998-6 , p. 161.
  4. ^ Hagen Krämer: Effective wage. In: Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon. Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
  5. ^ Anton Evers: Solidarity and Interest. The German trade unions in the field of tension between demands and reality. Peter D. Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Bern / Circenster / UK 1979, ISBN 3-8204-6607-X , pp. 84f.