Setting of government guidelines to limit increases in wages and prices. It is one of the most extreme approaches to incomes policy. By controlling wages and prices, governments hope to control inflation and prevent extremes in the business cycle. Countries with highly centralized methods of setting wages tend to have the greatest degree of public or collective regulation of wage and price levels. For example, wage settlements in The Netherlands must be approved by the government, and price increases are investigated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Other countries, including the U.S., have also made efforts at restraining wage and price increases, usually seeking the voluntary cooperation of management and labour. In the U.S., wage-price controls were instituted by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II and by Pres. Richard M. Nixon in the early 1970s, when high inflation combined with rising unemployment to create instability.
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