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Why do capital intensive companies pay higher wages?

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  • Virén , Matti

    ()
    (University of Turku and Bank of Finland)

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    Abstract

    An obvious answer to this question is the capital-skill complementarity hypothesis originally proposed by Zwi Griliches (1969). But the relatively poor performance of this hypothesis suggests that other explanations are needed. Here we consider the labour union behaviour in the wage bargaining process as such an alternative. The explanation is based on the observation that capital intensive companies are more vulnerable to strike threats and may thus more easily give in for union wage demand. Thus, the bargaining power of unions is related to the capital-labour ratio. This paper provides some tests for these hypotheses with panel data for Finnish companies. The results give support to the wage bargaining hypothesis.

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    File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/julkaisut/tutkimukset/keskustelualoitteet/Documents/0505netti.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 5/2005.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: 13 Feb 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2005_005

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
    Web page: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/
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    Keywords: wages; bargaining; wage distribution; panel data;

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    1. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Miller, Paul & Mulvey, Charles, 1996. "Unions, Firm Size and Wages," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 72(217), pages 138-53, June.
    3. Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Pérez Sebastián & John Duffy, 2002. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence From A Panel Of Countries," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    4. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    5. Devereux, Michael B. & Lockwood, Ben, 1991. "Trade unions, non-binding wage agreements, and capital accumulation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1411-1426, October.
    6. J Konings & Patrick Paul Walsh, 1993. "Evidence of Efficiency Wage Payments in UK Firm Level Panel Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0138, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
    8. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, November.
    9. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
    10. Bentollia, S. & Saint-Paul, G., 1999. "Explaining Movements in the Labor Share," Papers 9905, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
    11. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
    12. Surendra Gera & Gilles Grenier, 1994. "Interindustry Wage Differentials and Efficiency Wages: Some Canadian Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 81-100, February.
    13. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
    14. Graziella Bertocchi, 2003. "Labor Market Institutions, International Capital Mobility, and the Persistence of Underdevelopment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 637-650, July.
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