Wage policy (as a subspecies of policy ) describes a process with the aim of arriving at generally binding decisions on the level of wages as remuneration by representing several interest groups, trade unions as representatives of employees , employers' associations as representatives of employers , or other institutions Specifically involve people in this binding decision-making process, for example in the context of collective bargaining . State institutions such as the government or political parties as well as the media and scientific advisory institutions also have an indirect influence on wage policy .
The demands of the bargaining parties in the negotiations on wage policy are based on economic variables such as labor productivity , inflation rate , unemployment rate , and wage share . These reference values, as the basis for a faster solution in the negotiations, also serve to avoid lengthy industrial disputes and defuse distribution conflicts.
Purchasing power theory of wages
See detailed article on purchasing power theory
Productivity theory of wages
According to this theory, wages should rise to the extent to which labor productivity has risen, since this does not change the relationship with which the value creation of companies is divided between profits and wages (so-called “productivity-oriented wage policy”). In this way, employees would have a constant share in the increase in productivity and in production or income as a whole. Such a productivity-oriented wage policy leads to a stable wage share .
Critics claim that labor productivity is a purely statistical variable from which it cannot be deduced what proportion of the increase in productivity the individual factors of production (labor, capital ) have, depending on the cause .
This productivity theory of wages is recommended by many economists , although depending on the general economic situation (especially the level of unemployment ), but also on the underlying economic theory , reductions or reductions must be made. For Ludwig Erhard , wage increases were part of the market economy in line with the increased productivity of the economy .
Viktor Agartz called the “productivity-oriented wage policy” a “dynamic wage policy” in contrast to the “expansive wage policy”. Corresponding terms can be found in Theodor Brauer with "regulative" and "speculative" wage increases.
Expansive wage policy
For Viktor Agartz, a “dynamic” wage policy merely means an adjustment of real wages to productivity developments, with real wages constantly lagging behind. In contrast, he advocates an “expansive” wage policy. This means that the wage policy with the increase in purchasing power that is achieved is intended to promote the expansion of production, thereby driving economic growth further.
According to Herbert Ehrenberg , wage policy thus becomes an instrument of distribution policy . According to some neo-Schumpeter economists (such as Alfred H. Kleinknecht and Hans-Heinrich Bass ), higher wage rates can also act as a “productivity whip” and promote the implementation of labor-saving process innovations and thus accelerate technical progress.
- Ludwig Erhard : Prosperity for All . 8th edition 1964, p. 211 ( PDF ( Memento of the original from August 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this note. )
- Reinhard Bispinck and Thorsten Schulten: The concept of the expansive wage policy - a critical appraisal from today's perspective. In: Reinhard Bispinck, Thorsten Schulten, Peeter Raane (eds.): Economic democracy and expansive wage policy. On the topicality of Viktor Agartz . VSA-Verlag Hamburg 2008. ISBN 978-3-89965-282-6 . Pp. 48 to 65.
- Viktor Agartz: Contributions to economic development 1953. Expansive wage policy. In: Communications from the Economic Institute of the Trade Unions in Cologne . 6th year, 1953, issue 12, p. 246. Reprinted in: Reinhard Bispinck, Thorsten Schulten, Peeter Raane (eds.): Economic democracy and expansive wage policy. On the topicality of Viktor Agartz . VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2008. ISBN 978-3-89965-282-6 . Pp. 151-157.
- Herbert Ehrenberg : Expansive wage policy, a means of income distribution . Goettingen 1958.
- AH Kleinknecht: Heeft Nederland een loongolf nodig? A neo-Schumpeteriaans verhaal over bedrijfswinsten, factory location and export . In: Tijdschrift voor politieke ekonomie . Vol. 17, 2, pp. 5-24. Hans-Heinrich Bass: Labor Markets in Germany and Japan. A short story with an open ending . In: List forum for economic and financial policy . Vol. 35, Issue 1, pp. 63-86.