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Global Wage Report 2010/11

Wage Policies in Times of Crisis

By International Labor Office

This volume reviews the global and regional wage trends during the economic and financial crisis of 2008–09. Part I highlights the slowdown in the growth of monthly average wages as well as some short-term fluctuations in the wage share. These changes happened against a backdrop of wage moderation in the years before the crisis and a long-term trend of rising wage inequality since the mid-1990s.

Part II discusses the role of wage policies in times of crisis and recovery. Collective bargaining and minimum wages can help achieve a balanced and equitable recovery by ensuring that working families share in the fruits of future economic growth. At the same time, preventing the purchasing power of low-paid workers from falling can contribute to a faster recovery by sustaining aggregate demand. Part III highlights issues that are critical for improving wage policies.

Global Wage Report 2010/11 demonstrates that policy strategies and design are crucial to ensuring that low-paid workers benefit from union representation and minimum wages, and it argues that wage policies must be complemented with carefully crafted in-work benefits and other income transfers.

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