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The Trade-off between Precommitment and Flexibility in Trade Union Wage Setting


  • Anderson, Simon P
  • Devereux, Michael B


This paper examines two types of contract structures in a model where a trade union supplies labor to an industry, and sets the wage to maximize welfare. Firms' investment is endogenous, and the industry price is stochastic. Under short-term contracts, the union sets the wage after the firms' investment is in place, but also after the industry price is known. Under long- term contracts, the wage is chosen before investment and before the industry price is known. With short-term contracts the union has the benefit of ex-post wage flexibility, while under long-term contracts the union has the benefit of advance wage commitment which may be an important determinant of contract structure. The trade-off is examined in detail. Copyright 1991 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Simon P & Devereux, Michael B, 1991. "The Trade-off between Precommitment and Flexibility in Trade Union Wage Setting," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 549-569, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:43:y:1991:i:4:p:549-69

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    Cited by:

    1. Heikki Kauppi & Erkki Koskela & Rune Stenbacka, 2004. "Equilibrium Unemployment and Capital Intensity Under Product and Labor Market Imperfections," CESifo Working Paper Series 1343, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. 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.

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