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Unions: Rent Creators or Extractors?

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  • Toke Skovsgaard Aidt
  • Vania Sena

Abstract

This paper proposes a model of workplace-specific unions that integrates two views of what unions do. One view holds that unions mainly engage in rent extraction. Another view holds that unions mainly engage in rent creation by providing agency services that increase workplace productivity. We demonstrate that the choice between the two activities is systematically related to the economic and regulatory environment in which the union operates. Product market competition encourages rent creation, while labor market deregulation encourages rent extraction. Moreover, we provide a rationale for why firms may want to subsidize unions. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2005 .

Suggested Citation

  • Toke Skovsgaard Aidt & Vania Sena, 2005. "Unions: Rent Creators or Extractors?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 103-121, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:107:y:2005:i:1:p:103-121
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Catia Montagna & Antonella Nocco, 2013. "Unionization, international integration, and selection," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(1), pages 23-45, February.
    2. Andrew T. Young & Hernando Zuleta, 2016. "Golden Rules of Wages," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 253-270, July.
    3. Jacek Lewkowicz & Anna Lewczuk, 2017. "An Institutional Approach to Trade Unions’ Density. The Case of Legal Origin and Political Ideology," Working Papers 2017-06, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    4. Aidt, T.S. & Tzannatos, Z., 2005. "The Cost and Benefits of Collective Bargaining," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0541, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Hernando Zuleta & Andrew T. Young, 2011. "Do Unions Increase Labor’s Shares? Evidence from US Industry-Level Data," Working Papers 10-06, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    6. Vesa Kanniainen & Mikko Leppämäki, 2009. "Union power, entrepreneurial risk, and entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 293-302, October.
    7. Uwe Jirjahn, 2009. "The Introduction of Works Councils in German Establishments - Rent Seeking or Rent Protection?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(3), pages 521-545, September.
    8. Emanuele Bacchiega & Antonio Minniti, 2015. "Training and Product Quality in Unionized Oligopolies," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82, pages 1261-1301, December.
    9. William Brown & Paul Ryan, 2003. "The Irrelevance of Trade union Recognition? A Comparison of Two Matched Companies," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 6(3), pages 383-408, September.
    10. Suphachol Suphachalasai, 2005. "Bureaucratic Corruption and Mass Media," Public Economics 0502014, EconWPA.

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