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Fair Wages, Worker Motivation, and Implicit Bargaining Power in Segmented Labor Markets


  • William D. Ferguson


This paper addresses implicit bargaining power within employment relationships using a versatile model of labor market segmentation that combines labor discipline, performance pay, insider power, and fair wage principles. In the primary sector, fair wage comparisons, firm-specific human capital, and less perfect monitoring engender bilateral bargaining power, yielding high compensation, sometimes including a bonus. Secondary-sector employers exert unilateral bargaining power, via credible dismissal threats with no replacement costs, and offer no bonuses. Differential determinates of implicit bargaining power can potentially explain various phenomena, including nominal wage rigidity, union wage differentials, job-specific wage differentials, and gender or race-based wage differentials.

Suggested Citation

  • William D. Ferguson, 2005. "Fair Wages, Worker Motivation, and Implicit Bargaining Power in Segmented Labor Markets," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(1), pages 126-126, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200503)161:1_126:fwwmai_2.0.tx_2-m

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arai, Mahmood, 1994. " An Empirical Analysis of Wage Dispersion and Efficiency Wages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(1), pages 31-50.
    2. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
    3. Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-254, May.
    4. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    5. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    6. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General


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