Long-term Relation and Causality and Sensitivity Analysis among Actual Wages and Labor Productivity in the Manufacturing Sector from Figures provided by the regions in Colombia

John Alexander Méndez Sayago, Hugo Alfonso Hernández Escolar


This article focuses on identifying the relation between wages and productivity. To demonstrate if there is a long-term relation between these variables, unit root and cointegration tests were applied to determine if the series shared common stochastic tendencies. A vector autoregressive model (VAR) was used to do a causality and sensitivity analysis to determine the future effect of the shocks in any variable of the system, on itself and others. To conduct the empirical exercise, series of productivity and wages from 24 Colombian regions were used, which were calculated from the annual manufacturing survey. The empirical findings allow to conclude that a distribution of wealth conflict exists in Colombia because changes in productivity are not reflected on workers’ real salaries growths. On the other hand, increasing the actual wage is not advisable for business owners, as that growth does not have a future positive effect on productivity.


Actual wage; productivity; distributional conflict

Full Text:

PDF (Español)


Akerlof, G., Yellen, J. (May, 1990). The fair wage-effort hypothesis and unemployment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 105(2), 255-283.

Calvo, G. (May, 1979). Quasi-Wairasian theories of unemployment. American Economic Review, 69,102-107.

Clark, J. B. (1899). The distribution of wealth – a theory of wages, interest and profits. New York: Kelley.

Chumacero, R. (2005). A Toolkit for Analyzing Alternative Policies in the Chilean Economy. En R. Chumacero & K. Schmidt-Hebbel (Eds.), General equilibrium models for the Chilean economy. Santiago de

Chile: Banco Central de Chile.

Departamento Nacional de Planeación (DNP). (2000). Una mirada al mercado laboral colombiano. Recuperado de http://www.dnp.gov.co/Portals/0/archivos/documentos/DEE/Boletines_Divulgacion_Economica/BDE_2_empleo.pdf

Desormeaux, N. (2010). Salarios de eficiencia y productividad. Documento de trabajo, Universidad Técnica Federico Santamaría. Recuperado de http://www.ceas.usm.cl/documentos/Estudios/Desempleo/


Díaz, C., Gamboa, V., Romero. C. & Novoa, O. (2008). La influencia del crecimiento económico en los salarios: Colombia periodo 1975-2005. Finanzas y Política Económica, 2(1), 3-22.

Farné, S. & Nupia, O. (1998). Costos laborales, productividad, competitividad y empleo. Mimeo empleo un desafío para Colombia, documento preliminar OIT.

González, C. (2008). Los salarios de eficiencia, una vía para accionar positivamente sobre la productividad del trabajo en Cuba (Tesis de maestría). Facultad de Economía, Universidad de La Habana. Recuperado de

http://fec.uh.cu/doctorado/doctoradoftp/Tesis/Maestrias/7ma/Carlos%20Enrique%20Gonz%E1les%20 Garc%EDa%20-%20Los%20salarios%20de%20eficiencia,%20una%20v%EDa%20para%20accionar%20positivamente%20sobre%20la%20productividad%20del%20trabajo%20en%20Cuba.pdf

Greenwald, B. & Stiglitz, J. E. (May, 1986). Externalities in economies with imperfect information and incomplete markets. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 101(2).

Guasch, J. & Weiss, L. (July, 1980). Wages as a sorting mechanism in competitive markets with asymmetric information: A theory of testing. Review of Economic Studies, 47.

Instituto de Estudios Fiscales y Económicos (IEFE). (2004). La relación entre salario y productividad: una aplicación al caso argentino. Reporte, 127, estudio 7. Recuperado de http://www.iefe.org.ar/doc/r127/est7r127.pdf

Iregui, A., Melo, L., & Ramírez, M. (2010). Incrementos y rigideces de los salarios en Colombia: un estudio a partir de una encuesta a nivel de firma. Revista de Economía del Rosario, 13(2), 279-311.

Leibenstein, H. (1957). Economic backwardness and economic growth. New York: Wiley. 15. Lin, C. & Lai, C. (1994). The turnover costs and the Solow conditions in an efficiency wage model with intertemporal optimization. Economics Letters, 45, 501-505.

Martínez, M. (1995). El concepto de productividad en el análisis económico. Recuperado de http://www.criticaapotzalco.


Marx, K. (1946). El capital: crítica de la economía política (t. 1). México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Montesinos, M. (2000). La dinámica salarios-productividad y el desarrollo económico de El Salvador. Revista Realidad. Recuperado de http://www.uca.edu.sv/revistarealidad/archivo/4d9e31cc42318ladinami


Ruesga S., Ortiz, L., Resa, C., Bichara, J. & Heredero, M. (2005). Análisis económico de la negociación colectiva en España. Una propuesta metodológica. Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales Subdirección General de Información Administrativa y Publicaciones.

Salop, S. (1979). A model of the natural rate of unemployment. The American Economic Review, 69(1),


Shapiro, C. & Stiglitz, J. (1984). Equilibrium unemployment as a worker discipline device. American Economic Review, 74, 433-444.

Sharpe, A., Arsenault, J. & Harrison, P. (2008). The relationship between labour productivity and real wage growth in Canada and OECD countries. CSLS research report 2008-8. Canada: Center for the Study of Living Standards.

Solow, R. (1979). Another possible source of wage stickiness. Journal of Macroeconomics, 1(1), 79-82.

Souza, J. (2012). Real wages and labor-saving technical change: Differences between mature and labor-surplus economies. Working paper, University of Massachusetts. Recuperado de http://www.assoeconomiepolitique.org/political-economy-outlook-for-capitalism/wp-ontent/uploads/2012/06/wage_productivity1.pdf

Stiglitz, J. (1976). The efficiency wage hypothesis, surplus labour and the distribution of income in LDCs. Oxford Economic Papers, 28, 185-207.

Venegas, F. & Rodríguez, A. (2009). Exogeneidad


  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright (c) 2015