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Wage Determination and Imperfect Competition

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  • Alison Booth

Abstract

A striking feature of the past few decades has been the development of wage determination models that assume that labour markets are imperfectly competitive. This paper discusses two such models (trade unions and oligopsony), although there are many more. It also asks if imperfectly competitive models should be used whenever researchers are modelling the labour market. Some people would argue for this only in cases when the predictions and comparative statics of the imperfectly competitive model differ from those of the competitive model. Of course, to know this, one needs to know precisely what the predictions and comparative statics of the respective models are. Moreover, for policymakers to be able to determine if an intervention is required in the first place, there does need to be some analytical framework to act as a guide. In the perfectly competitive model of the labour markets, for example, typically no intervention or regulation would be justified. However, labour economics has moved far beyond this position, with the incorporation of new ideas into modeling wage determination in imperfectly competitive labour markets, and with the availability of better datasets to facilitate empirical investigation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2014-27.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2014-27

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Keywords: wage determination; oligopsony; trade unions; imperfect competition; labour markets;

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  1. Booth, Alison L & Zoega, Gylfi, 2001. "Is Wage Compression a Necessary Condition for Firm-Financed General Training?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2845, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Kohn, Karsten & Lembcke, Alexander C., 2008. "Union Density and Varieties of Coverage: The Anatomy of Union Wage Effects in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3356, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alison L. Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2006. "A Microfoundation for Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation and the Under-Participation Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 543, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  5. Dobbelaere, Sabien & Mairesse, Jacques, 2007. "Panel data estimates of the production function and product and labor market imperfections," Working Paper Series 0782, European Central Bank.
  6. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538.
  7. Stewart, M.B., 1989. "Union Wage Differentials, Product Market Influences And The Division Of Rents," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 323, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 6740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
  10. Bhaskar, V & To, Ted, 1999. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 190-203, April.
  11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  12. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
  13. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
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