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The Effect of Competition on Wages and Productivity: Evidence from the United Kingdom

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  • George Symeonidis

    (University of Essex)

Abstract

I examine the impact of competition on wages and productivity using a panel data set of U.K. manufacturing industries over 1954-1973. The introduction of cartel law in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s caused an intensification of price competition in previously cartelized manufacturing industries, but it did not affect those industries that were not cartelized. The econometric results from a comparison of the two groups of industries before and after the introduction of cartel law provide strong evidence of a negative effect of collusion on labor productivity growth. There is no evidence of any effect of collusion on wages. These results are robust to controlling for the potential endogeneity of collusion and are further strengthened by a comparison with U.S. data. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • George Symeonidis, 2008. "The Effect of Competition on Wages and Productivity: Evidence from the United Kingdom," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 134-146, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:1:p:134-146
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Li & Altshuler, Rosanne, 2013. "Measuring the Burden of the Corporate Income Tax Under Imperfect Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(1), pages 215-237, March.
    2. Polemis, Michael L. & Stengos, Thanasis, 2015. "Does market structure affect labour productivity and wages? Evidence from a smooth coefficient semiparametric panel model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 182-186.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2017. "The Postwar British Productivity Failure," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1142, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:kap:decono:v:166:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9307-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:530-545 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. George Symeonidis, 2011. "Competition and the relative productivity of large and small firms," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(24), pages 3253-3264.
    7. Thomas J. Holmes & David K. Levine & James A. Schmitz, 2012. "Monopoly and the Incentive to Innovate When Adoption Involves Switchover Disruptions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 1-33, August.
    8. Levenstein, Margaret C. & Sivadasan, Jagadeesh & Suslow, Valerie Y., 2015. "The effect of competition on trade: Evidence from the collapse of international cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 56-70.
    9. repec:wbk:wbpubs:27527 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:oup:jcomle:v:11:y:2015:i:2:p:501-525. is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "Creating Competitive Advantage: Policy Lessons from History," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 91, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346 Elsevier.
    13. repec:eee:eecrev:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:42-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Crafts, Nicholas & Toniolo, Gianni, 2008. "European Economic Growth, 1950-2005: An Overview," CEPR Discussion Papers 6863, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. John E. Tilton, 2013. "Cyclical and Secular Determinants of Productivity in the Copper, Aluminum, Iron Ore, and Coal Industries," Working Papers 2013-11, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    16. Broadberry, Stephen; Crafts, Nicholas., 2010. "Openness, Protectionism And Britain’S Productivity Performance Over The Long-Run," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 36, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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