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Union wage demands with footloose firms

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  • Damiaan Persyn

Abstract

This paper analyses the wage demands of a sector-level monopoly union facing internationally mobile firms. A simple two-country economic geography model is used to describe how firms relocate: in function of international differences in production costs and market size. The union sets wages in function of the firm level labour demand elasticity and the responsiveness of firms to relocate internationally. If countries are suffciently symmetric lower foreign wages and lower trade costs necessarily lead to lower union wage demands. With asymmetric countries these intuitive properties do not always hold. But even for symmetric countries it holds that small increases in market size or trade costs makes union wages more sensitive to the foreign wage level.

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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen, Vives in its series Vives discussion paper series with number 3.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ete:vivwps:3

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Keywords: Unions; globalisation; economic geography;

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  1. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1988. "Unionized oligopoly and international trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3-4), pages 217-234, May.
  2. Stephen R. G. Jones, 1989. "The Role of Negotiators in Union-Firm Bargaining," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(3), pages 630-42, August.
  3. Ludema, Rodney D. & Wooton, Ian, 2000. "Economic geography and the fiscal effects of regional integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 331-357, December.
  4. Picard, P. M. & Toulemonde, E., 2003. "Regional asymmetries: economies of agglomeration versus unionized labor markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 223-249, March.
  5. Addison, John T & Chilton, John B, 1998. "Self-Enforcing Union Contracts: Efficient Investment and Employment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71(3), pages 349-69, July.
  6. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-93.
  7. Naylor, Robin, 1997. "Union Wage Strategies and International Trade," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 480, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Baldwin, Richard E. & Martin, Philippe, 2004. "Agglomeration and regional growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 60, pages 2671-2711 Elsevier.
  9. Jakob Roland Munch, 2003. "The Location of Firms in Unionized Countries," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(1), pages 49-72, 03.
  10. Paz Espinosa, Maria & Rhee, Changyong, 1989. "Efficient Wage Bargaining as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 565-88, August.
  11. Mezzetti, Claudio & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1991. "Domestic unionization and import competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 79-100, August.
  12. Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou, 2007. "Globalization, Asymmetric Tax Competition, and Fiscal Equalization," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(5), pages 901-925, October.
  13. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1994. "Industrial Location and Public Infrastructure," CEPR Discussion Papers 909, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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