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International Competition and the Unionized Sector

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  • Gene M. Grossman

Abstract

This paper studies the wage and employment behavior of a unionized sector that is confronted by an intensification of international competition. After developing a formal model of a monopoly union subject to majority rule, I study the response of a unionized sector operating under a seniority rule for layoffs and rehires to a trend decrease in the international price of its output. Conditions are provided to validate the casual argument that majority voting in unions and the seniority system together provide an explanation for the lack of union wage adjustment. A modified version of the model allows the job queue to deviate from a strict seniority ranking. In this context I ask, what importance can be attached to the seniority system in determining the wage response to international competition?
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Suggested Citation

  • Gene M. Grossman, 1984. "International Competition and the Unionized Sector," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(3), pages 541-556, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:17:y:1984:i:3:p:541-56
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    1. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Srinivasan, T N, 1974. "On Reanalyzing the Harris-Todaro Model: Policy Rankings in the Case of Sector-Specific Sticky Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 502-508, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Kuhn, "undated". "Canada and the "OECD Hypothesis": Does Labour Market Inflexibility Explain Canada's High Level of Unemployment?," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 10, McMaster University.
    2. Feenstra, Robert C., 1995. "Estimating the effects of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1553-1595 Elsevier.
    3. Jorge Saba Arbache, 1999. "Trade Liberalisation and Insider Power: The Case of Brazil," Studies in Economics 9902, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    4. Rana Hasan & Lan Chen, 2003. "Trade and Workers: Evidence from the Philippines," Economics Study Area Working Papers 61, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
    5. Utsav Kumar & Prachi Mishra, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality: Evidence from India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 291-311, May.
    6. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2001. "Trade Protection and Wages: Evidence from the Colombian Trade Reforms," NBER Working Papers 8575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jeffrey Sachs, 1986. "High Unemployment in Europe: Diagnosis and Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 1830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Pavcnik, Nina, 2005. "Trade, wages, and the political economy of trade protection: evidence from the Colombian trade reforms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 75-105, May.
    9. Dumont, Michel, 2004. "The Impact of International Trade with Newly Industrialised Countries on the Wages and Employment of Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Workers in the European Union," MPRA Paper 83525, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Petia Topalova, 2010. "Factor Immobility and Regional Impacts of Trade Liberalization: Evidence on Poverty from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 1-41, October.
    11. Chi-Hsin Wu & Chia-Ying Liu, 2010. "Do Trade Unions Deteriorate International Competitiveness? Reconciliation of the Discrepancy Between Theory and Practice," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 38(2), pages 145-155, June.
    12. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
    13. Francois, Joseph & Grier, Kevin Blaine & Nelson, Douglas, 2004. "Globalization, Roundaboutness and Relative Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 4406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
    15. Frank Barry & Joe Durkan, 1996. "Team Aer Lingus and Irish Steel: An Application of the Declining High-Wage Industries Literature," Open Access publications 10197/5743, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    16. Nair-Reichert, Usha & Pomery, John, 1999. "International R&D rivalry and export market shares of unionized industries: Some evidence from the US manufacturing sector," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 77-97, October.
    17. Fredriksson, Per G. & Gaston, Noel, 1999. "The "greening" of trade unions and the demand for eco-taxes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 663-686, November.
    18. Gaston, Noel & Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "Union wage sensitivity to trade and protection: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 1-25, August.
    19. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1986. "International Oligopoly and Asymmetric Labour Market Institutions," NBER Working Papers 2038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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