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Bargained Wages, Wage Drift and the Design of the Wage Setting System

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  • Ana Rute Cardoso
  • Pedro Portugal

Abstract

This paper aims at answering the question: How does a typically European bargaining system - with collective bargaining, extension mechanisms and national minimum wage - coexist with low unemployment rate and high wage flexibility? A unique data set on workers, firms and collective bargaining contracts in the Portuguese economy is used to analyze the determinants of both the bargained wage and the wage drift. Results indicate that wage drift stretches the returns to every worker and firm attribute, whereas it shrinks the returns to union bargaining power. Therefore, firm-specific arrangements, in the form of wage drift, partly offset collective bargaining, granting firms a high degree of freedom when setting wages. Union bargaining power raises the overall wage level, but lowers the returns on worker attributes, an outcome of the egalitarian policy pursued.

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Paper provided by Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department in its series Working Papers with number w200318.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ptu:wpaper:w200318

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  1. Hartog, Joop & Leuven, Edwin & Teulings, Coen N, 1997. "Wages and the Bargaining Regime in a Corporatist Setting: The Netherlands," CEPR Discussion Papers 1706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1978. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," NBER Working Papers 0248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lemieux, Thomas, 1998. "Estimating the Effects of Unions on Wage Inequality in a Panel Data Model with Comparative Advantage and Nonrandom Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 261-91, April.
  4. Freeman, Richard Barry, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Scholarly Articles 4631951, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Christofides, Louis N & Oswald, Andrew J, 1992. "Real Wage Determination and Rent-Sharing in Collective Bargaining Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 985-1002, August.
  6. Hibbs, Douglas Jr. & Locking, Hakan, 1996. "Wage compression, wage drift and wage inflation in Sweden," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 109-141, September.
  7. David Fairris, 2003. "Unions and wage inequality in Mexico," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 481-497, April.
  8. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  9. Agell, Jonas & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1992. "Union Egalitarianism as Income Insurance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(235), pages 295-310, August.
  10. Booth, Alison L, 1984. "A Public Choice Model of Trade Union Behaviour and Membership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 883-98, December.
  11. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
  12. Ordine, Patrizia, 1995. "Wage drift and minimum contractual wage: Theoretical interrelationship and empirical evidence for Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 335-357, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2004. "Wage Mobility: Do Institutions Make a Difference? A Replication Study Comparing Portugal and the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 4355, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bayo-Moriones, Alberto & Galdon-Sanchez, Jose Enrique & Martinez-de-Morentin, Sara, 2008. "What Are the Factors Behind Pay Settlements? Evidence from Spanish and British Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3401, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Hipólito J. Simón & Raúl Ramos & Esteve Sanromà, 2005. "Collective bargaining and regional wage differences in Spain: An empirical analysis," Working Papers 2005/7, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  4. Vera A. Adamchik & Josef C. Brada & Arthur E. King, 2009. "Are Transition Economy Workers Underpaid?," Working Papers 278, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  5. Gesine Stephan & Knut Gerlach, 2005. "Wage settlements and wage setting: results from a multi-level model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(20), pages 2297-2306.
  6. Plasman, Robert & Rusinek, Michael & Rycx, Francois, 2006. "Wages and the Bargaining Regime under Multi-level Bargaining: Belgium, Denmark and Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 1990, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Gürtzgen, Nicole, 2005. "Rent-sharing : Does the Bargaining Regime Make a Difference? Theory and Empirical Evidence," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-15, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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