Towards a System of Multilateral Unit Labor Cost-Based Competitiveness Indicators for Advanced, Developing, and Transition Countries


Anthony G. Turner ; Stephen S. Golub

Publication Date:

November 1, 1997

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


This paper attempts to extend the range of countries covered by the IMF’s multilateral real exchange rate indexes based on relative unit labor costs (REER-ULCs) in manufacturing. A data set was assembled that permits calculation of REER-ULCs for 23 newly industrialized, developing, and transition countries in addition to the 21 industrial countries covered by the current system. Although the results are mostly quite encouraging, they should be considered preliminary because of uncertainty about the reliability and comparability of the underlying data. Also, unit labor costs are not available on as timely a basis as consumer price indexes (CPIs), especially for nonindustrial countries. Thus, the ULC-based indicators should supplement rather than replace the current CPI-based system.


Working Paper No. 1997/151



Publication Date:

November 1, 1997



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