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Insider power, wage discrimination, and fairness

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  • Georg Kirchsteiger
  • Ernst Fehr

Abstract

The exercise of insider power is frequently considered as a major cause of involuntary unemployment. The authors show that under standard assumptions--insiders are selfish and they need not fear the loss of their job--insider power does not cause unemployment but leads to the introduction of a market-clearing, two-tier wage system. Yet, while insider power is a common phenomenon, two-tier systems are rarely observed. To explain this fact, the authors introduce interdependent preferences. They show that, if entrants exhibit a preference for fairness, the presence of insider power gives rise to an efficiency wage effect that may prevent the introduction of market-clearing, two-tier systems. Copyright 1994 by Royal Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/5923.

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Date of creation: May 1994
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Publication status: Published in: The Economic Journal (1994) v.104 n° 424,p.571-583
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/5923

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  1. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  2. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
  3. Bowles, Samuel, 1985. "The Production Process in a Competitive Economy: Walrasian, Neo-Hobbesian, and Marxian Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 16-36, March.
  4. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "On Union Preferences and Labour Market Models: Insiders and Outsi ders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 431-45, June.
  5. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  7. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1988. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: An Insider-Outsider Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 167-88, March.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  9. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  11. Fehr, Ernst, 1990. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 624-30, June.
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