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Relative consumption, working time, and trade unions

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  • Goerke, Laszlo
  • Hillesheim, Inga

Abstract

Status considerations with respect to consumption give rise to negative externalities because individuals do not take into account that their decisions affect the relative consumption position of others. Further, status concerns create incentives for excessive labour supply in competitive markets. We show that trade unions which are unable to internalise the externality can nevertheless mitigate the resulting distortion. The reason is that wages above the market clearing level are only feasible if people work less and, therefore, fewer hours than in a competitive market. Accordingly, the theoretical model establishes that trade unions can have a welfare-enhancing role in a world with relative consumption effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Goerke, Laszlo & Hillesheim, Inga, 2013. "Relative consumption, working time, and trade unions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 170-179.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:24:y:2013:i:c:p:170-179
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2013.08.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Goerke, Laszlo & Neugart, Michael, 2017. "Social comparisons in oligopsony," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 196-209.
    2. Laszlo Goerke & Michael Neugart, 2017. "Social comparisons in Oligopsony," IAAEG Discussion Papers until 2011 201704, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    3. Zwickl, Klara & Disslbacher, Franziska & Stagl, Sigrid, 2016. "Work-sharing for a sustainable economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 246-253.
    4. Hansen, Jørgen Drud & Molana, Hassan & Montagna, Catia & Nielsen, Jørgen Ulff-Møller, 2012. "Work hours, social value of leisure and globalisation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 317-326.
    5. Izabela Jonek-Kowalska, 2014. "Employment and Remuneration Trends in Polish Hard Coal Mines in the Context of the Relations Between Boards and Trade Unions," International Journal of Synergy and Research, ToKnowPress, vol. 3(1), pages 27-43.
    6. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2018. "Wage inequality, labor income taxes, and the notion of social status," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-41, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    7. Klara Zwickl & Franziska Disslbacher & Sigrid Stagl, 2015. "Work-sharing for a sustainable economy," Ecological Economics Papers ieep4, Institute of Ecological Economics.
    8. Aronsson, Thomas & Mannberg, Andrea, 2015. "Relative consumption of housing: Marginal saving subsidies and income taxes as a second-best policy?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 439-450.
    9. Klara Zwickl & Franziska Disslbacher & Sigrid Stagl, 2016. "Work-sharing for a sustainable economy," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 111, WWWforEurope.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Externality; Hours of work; Relative consumption; Trade union;

    JEL classification:

    • D - Microeconomics
    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics
    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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