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Why do capital intensive companies pay higher wages?

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  • Matti Virén

    (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://128.118.178.162/eps/lab/papers/0508/0508014.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0508014.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: 31 Aug 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0508014

    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 27. Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 5/2005
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    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

    Related research

    Keywords: wages; bargaining; wage distribution; panel data;

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    1. 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.
    2. Konings, Jozef & Walsh, Patrick P, 1994. "Evidence of Efficiency Wage Payments in UK Firm Level Panel Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 542-55, May.
    3. Bentollia, S. & Saint-Paul, G., 1999. "Explaining Movements in the Labor Share," Papers 9905, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
    4. 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).
    5. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-23, CIRANO.
    6. 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.
    7. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-68, November.
    8. 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.
    9. 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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