Does it mean "wages for core employees, such as full-time employees? Does The Economist think that a rise in wages of peripheral workers would push up the wages of core workers in Japan? or Does it mean "basic wages for all employees" in Japan?

Market forces do not affect large swathes of Japan’s workforce. The pay of full-time workers in big firms is not responsive to labour-market tightness, according to a study published by the BoJ. These beneficiaries of life-time employment do not fear layoffs in hard times and cannot expect pay rises in good. But these workers do demand higher pay to offset past inflation. So, if peripheral workers’ pay rises by enough to lift consumer prices a little, that will eventually result in stronger core wages, adding to inflationary momentum.

Wanted: stroppier employees, The Economist, April 8 issue http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21720282-high-employment-combined-undemanding-workers-japans-labour-market

  • I'm not sure in this reference, but I would think neither of your explanations. "Core wages" usually refers to base pay as compared with bonuses and benefits.
    – Stu W
    Apr 8 '17 at 4:51
  • 1
    "Core wages" seem to be the wages of full-time workers in big firms, which are not affected by labor market tightness, according to the BoJ study. But if the wages of peripheral (non-core) workers rise, prices may rise, and core workers (in big firms) may demand a pay increase to compensate for rising prices (inflation).
    – Xanne
    Apr 8 '17 at 5:31
  • I agree. the wages of peripheral workers may trigger price increase, which may result in a rise in wages for core workers through demanding a pay increase to offset past inflation.
    – Bakebake
    Apr 8 '17 at 7:13

Core wages isn't really a thing but has some use as an expression. In the cited Economist article, it's obviously the wages of the core workers mentioned earlier in the same paragraph. Normally, it will be the core part of any worker's wages but the more common expression is base pay or wages.

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