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Trade as a Wage Disciplining Device

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  • Persyn, Damiaan

    ()
    (K.U.Leuven)

Abstract

We estimate how trade openness affects the relationship between wages, labour productivity and foreign wages using sector-level time series for several EU member states. In some countries wages became less responsive to foreign wages as trade costs declined. We show this counter-intuitive result is as expected when wages are set by a monopoly union with a preference for wages relative to employment. Trade liberalisation then leads to more wage discipline by forcing unions to set wages more in line with labour productivity. Foreign wages simultaneously become less relevant. Our results call to rethink how trade liberalisation is affecting unionized labour markets, and offer a possible explanation for the mixed evidence found by some tests for international factor price convergence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3786.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3786

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Keywords: unions; globalisation; economic geography; factor price equalisation;

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References

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  1. H. Boulhol & S. Dobbelaere & S. Maioli, 2007. "Imports as product and labour market discipline," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 07/479, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
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  7. Mayer, Thierry & Paillacar, Rodrigo & Zignago, Soledad, 2008. "TradeProd. The CEPII Trade, Production and Bilateral Protection Database: Explanatory Notes," MPRA Paper 26477, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  16. Don Webber & Paul White, 2003. "Regional Factor Price Convergence Across Four Major European Countries," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(8), pages 773-782.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Polgár, Éva Katalin & Wörz, Julia, 2010. "Trade with central and eastern Europe: Is it really a threat to wages in the west?," Working Paper Series 1244, European Central Bank.
  2. Bijsterbosch, Martin & Kolasa, Marcin, 2009. "FDI and productivity convergence in central and eastern Europe: an industry-level investigation," Working Paper Series 0992, European Central Bank.
  3. repec:onb:oenbwp:y:2009:i:1:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Éva Polgár & Julia Wörz, 2010. "No risk and some fun? Trade and wages in the enlarged European Union," Empirica, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 127-163, May.

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