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Can Insider Power Affect Employment?

  • Pilar Díaz-Vázquez
  • Dennis J. Snower

Do firms reduce employment when their insiders (established, incumbent employees) claim higher wages? The conventional answer in the theoretical literature is that insider power has no influence on employment, provided that the newly hired employees (entrants) receive their reservation wages. The reason given is that an increase in insider wages gives rise to a countervailing fall in reservation wages, leaving the present value of wage costs unchanged. Our analysis contradicts this conventional answer. We show that, in the context of a stochastic model of the labor market, an increase in insider wages promotes firing in recessions, while leaving hiring in booms unchanged. Thereby insider power reduces average employment. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 4 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 139-150

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:4:y:2003:i:2:p:139-150
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  1. Frank, Jeff, 1985. "Trade Union Efficiency and Overemployment with Seniority Wage Scales," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380), pages 1021-34, December.
  2. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  3. Manzini, P. & Snower, D.J., 1996. "On the Foundations of Wage Bargaining," Discussion Papers 9616, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  4. Gottfries, Nils & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2000. " Insider Bargaining Power, Starting Wages and Involuntary Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(4), pages 669-88, December.
  5. Burda, Michael C, 1992. " A Note on Firing Costs and Severance Benefits in Equilibrium Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(3), pages 479-89.
  6. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis J. Snower, 2001. "Insiders versus Outsiders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 165-188, Winter.
  7. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr, 1994. "Insider power, wage discrimination, and fairness," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5923, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Diaz-Vazquez, Pilar & Snower, Dennis J., 2002. "On-the-Job Training and the Effects of Insider Power," IZA Discussion Papers 586, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Frank, Jeff & Malcomson, James M., 1994. "Trade unions and seniority employment rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1595-1611, October.
  10. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  11. Vetter, Henrik & Andersen, Torben M, 1994. "Do Turnover Costs Protect Insiders?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(422), pages 124-30, January.
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