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Difference between Real Wage and Nominal Wage

Difference between Real Wage and Nominal Wage

Are you trying to understand the difference between real wage and nominal wage? The terms might sound similar, but there are crucial distinctions that are important for employers to recognize. Real wage measures wages after accounting for inflation, whereas nominal wage represents the amount employees were paid in a given period before adjusting for inflation. This post will discuss all aspects of both types of wages, including how they’re calculated and what implications they have on an organization’s payroll budget. Read on to understand the differences between real and nominal wage today!

What is Real Wage?

Real wage is an economic concept used to measure the purchasing power of a worker’s wages or salary. Real wage takes into consideration the influence of inflation, which means that it helps give an accurate analysis of how much a worker’s wages are able to buy. Real wage factors in costs such as taxes, benefits, and the cost of living so that people from different locations can be compared against one another appropriately.

Real wage also allows everyone to determine the true value of their wages by accounting for inflation rates and other changes in pricing over time. Real wage is an incredibly useful metric for a variety of purposes, and serves as an important tool for economists when predicting growth patterns or analyzing forces within a marketplace.

What is a Nominal Wage?

  • Nominal wage is a term used by economists to measure economic activity and can be defined as a wage rate that has not been adjusted for inflation. Nominal wage is essentially the money paid to an employee and excludes any increases or decreases due to the changes in price of goods over time.
  • Nominal wages are important in understanding employment movements and measuring efforts toward earning a certain economic position, as they reflect real incomes after accounting for basic necessities like housing, food and energy costs.
  • Nominal wages also provide an objective way in which researchers can compare individual purchases over fixed periods of time. As such, Nominal wage serves as an effective tool for describing macroeconomic factors like inequality and work opportunities.

Difference between Real Wage and Nominal Wage

  • Real wages and nominal wages are two important terms in the world of economics. Real wages refer to the value of a certain wage relative to the cost of goods; it is an indicator of purchasing power.
  • On the other hand, nominal wages refer only to the unconditional dollar amount of a certain wage that does not consider inflation or any other factor. Real wages measure standards of living for people as changes in prices can drastically reduce value when compared against historical buying power.
  • In contrast, nominal wages are useful for measuring overall incomes corresponding to increases in productivity over time. Real and nominal wages are two distinct measures though they often move together to some extent; when economic growth occurs, real and nominal wages usually increase simultaneously.


It’s important to understand the difference between real wage and nominal wage when looking at economic data. When politicians or economists talk about increasing wages, they may be referring to the nominal wage rate. However, if we want to see an increase in purchasing power and standard of living for workers, we need to look at the real wage rate.

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