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Trade unions, non-binding wage agreements, and capital accumulation

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  • Devereux, Michael B.
  • Lockwood, Ben

Abstract

This paper provides a counterexample to some recent results of Grout (1984) which state that in a bargaining situation without binding wage agreements, the capital stock will be biased downwards. In a general equilibrium setting, this result may be reversed. The argument is built around a simple Diamond-type overlapping generations model where the young work and old own both capital and shares in firms. A move from binding to non-binding wage contracts may increase the capital stock in this environment. A rise in trade-union power will generally increase the capital stock and reduce the speed of the economy's adjustment.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:35:y:1991:i:7:p:1411-1426
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory Ponthiere, 2008. "Can underemployment persist in an expanding economy? Clues from a non-Walrasian OLG model with endogenous longevity," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 97-124, June.
    2. De Palma, Francesco & Seegmuller, Thomas, 2004. "Unions, wage differential and indeterminacy," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 205-218, September.
    3. Kemnitz, Alexander, 2008. "Can immigrant employment alleviate the demographic burden? The role of union centralization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 123-126, April.
    4. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd, 2000. "Why do governments subsidise investment and not employment?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 171-192, October.
    5. Luca Gori & Luciano Fanti, 2009. "Right-to-manage unions endogenous growth and welfare," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 903-917.
    6. Erling Steigum Jr., "undated". "Fiscal Deficits, Asset Prices and Intergenerational Distribution in an Open Unionized Economy," EPRU Working Paper Series 97-19, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    7. Antonis Adam & Thomas Moutos, 2009. "Pension Funding In A Unionized Economy," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(2), pages 213-231, May.
    8. Claus Hansen, 1999. "Long-run impact of increased wage pressure," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 69(2), pages 141-157, June.
    9. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, 1998. "Why Do Countries Subsidize Investment and Not Employment?," NBER Working Papers 6685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bae-Geun Kim, 2016. "Explaining movements of the labor share in the Korean economy: factor substitution, markups and bargaining power," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(3), pages 327-352, September.
    11. Erkki Koskela & Mikko Puhakka, 2006. "Stability and Dynamics in an Overlapping Generations Economy under Flexible Wage Negotiation and Capital Accumulation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1840, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Matti Viren, 2006. "Higher wages and capital intensity: a closer look," Discussion Papers 13, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    13. Matti Virén, 2005. "Why do capital intensive companies pay higher wages?," Labor and Demography 0508014, EconWPA.
    14. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Roberto Perotti & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2002. "Fiscal Policy, Profits, and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 571-589, June.
    15. Daniel Cardona & Fernando Sanchez Losada, 2003. "Union Power, Minimum Wage Legislation, Endogenous Labor Supplies and Production," Working Papers in Economics 105, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    16. Erling Steigum, 2001. "Trade Unions and the Burden of the Public Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 587, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Sjögren, Tomas, 2017. "Can a Marginally Distorted Labor Market Improve Capital Accumulation, Output and Welfare?," Umeå Economic Studies 946, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    18. 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.
    19. Koskela, Erkki & Puhakka, Mikko, 2007. "Stability and Dynamics in an Overlapping Generations Economy with Flexible Wage Negotiations," IZA Discussion Papers 3246, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Coimbra, Rui & Lloyd-Braga, Teresa & Modesto, Leonor, 2002. "Endogenous Growth Fluctuations in Unionised Economy with Productive Externalities," CEPR Discussion Papers 3230, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Daniel Cardona & Fernando Sánchez-Losada, 2006. "Unions, qualification choice, and output," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 50-76, January.
    22. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Jiang, Wei & Malley, James R., 2013. "Tax reforms under market distortions in product and labour markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 28-42.
    23. Natasha Miaouli, 2001. "Employment and Capital Accumulation in Unionised Labour Markets: Evidence from five south-European countries," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 5-29.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L68 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Appliances; Furniture; Other Consumer Durables

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