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The Economics of wages and wages policy in the depression and recovery period: distinctive elements in the New Zealand debate, 1931- 1936


  • A. M. Endres



This article discusses distinctive features of the New Zealand debate on the economics of wages and wages policy from 1931 up to the restoration of compulsory arbitration in 1936. Local economic orthodoxy proffered advice which, consistent with Keynes (1936), turned on the need for a general real wage reduction effected mostly through currency devaluation, rather than through further money wage cuts. Dissenters were critical of currency devaluation; they stressed excessively generous unemployment relief, real wage 'overhang' and structural real wage distorttons. Tentative estimates of both aggregate real product wage and labour productivity changes demonstrate, prima facie, that at least one strand in the dissenting argument was defensible.


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Author Biography

A. M. Endres,