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Strategic union delegation and strike activity


  • Ana Mauleon
  • Vincent Vannetelbosch


We develop a model of wage determination with private information, in which the union has the option to delegate the wage bargaining to either surplus-maximizing delegates or to wage-maximizing delegates (such as senior union members). We show that the wage outcome in case of surplus-maximizing delegates is not necessarily smaller than the wage outcome in case of wage-maximizing delegates, even when the wage bargaining with private information is close to one with complete information. However, if it is commonly known that the union is stronger than the firm and the demand is sufficiently elastic, then delegating to wage-maximizing delegates definitely increases the wage at equilibrium. The maximum delay in reaching an agreement is greater whenever the union chooses wage-maximizing delegates instead of surplus-maximizing delegates and remains finite even when the period length shrinks to zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 2005. "Strategic union delegation and strike activity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(1), pages 149-173, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:38:y:2005:i:1:p:149-173

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Francis K. Cheung & Carl Davidson, 1991. "Bargaining Structure and Strike Activity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 345-371, May.
    3. Conlin, Michael & Furusawa, Taiji, 2000. "Strategic Delegation and Delay in Negotiations over the Bargaining Agenda," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 55-73, January.
    4. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-940, December.
    5. Joel Watson, 1998. "Alternating-Offer Bargaining with Two-Sided Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 573-594.
    6. Stephen R. G. Jones, 1989. "The Role of Negotiators in Union-Firm Bargaining," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(3), pages 630-642, August.
    7. Dertouzos, James N & Pencavel, John H, 1981. "Wage and Employment Determination under Trade Unionism: The International Typographical Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1162-1181, December.
    8. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1993. "Bargaining with Private Information," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 45-104, March.
    9. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1989. "Strategic Bargaining Models and Interpretation of Strike Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages 87-130, Supplemen.
    10. Tracy, Joseph S, 1986. "An Investigation into the Determinants of U.S. Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 423-436, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mauleon, Ana & Vannetelbosch, Vincent, 2010. "Market integration and strike activity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 154-161, May.
    2. A. Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch & Cecilia Vergari, 2014. "Unions' Relative Concerns And Strikes In Wage Bargaining," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 374-383, October.
    3. Ana Mauleon & Huasheng Song & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 2010. "Networks of Free Trade Agreements among Heterogeneous Countries," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(3), pages 471-500, June.
    4. Ana Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 2006. "Strategic union delegation and incentives for merger," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 1-5.
    5. Ana Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 2013. "Relative Concerns and Delays in Bargaining with Private Information," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-10, June.
    6. Yi-Chun Chen & Xiao Luo, 2008. "Delay in a bargaining game with contracts," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 65(4), pages 339-353, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory


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