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Unions and Employment in Uruguay

In: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Adriana Cassoni
  • Steven G. Allen
  • Gaston J. Labadie

This study examines the impact of unions on wages and employment using data from Uruguay in a period when unions were banned (1973-1984), then legalized with tripartite bargaining (1984-1991) followed by industry-wide or firm-specific bargaining (1992-1997). The relationship between wages and employment shifted significantly across these periods as evidenced by recursive residuals, which show structural shifts in five of six industries, with the shifts coming at the same time as the regime changes. Wages are exogenous to employment before 1985, but not afterwards. Wage elasticity and the employment-output elasticity fell sharply after 1984. Unions significantly raised wages in 1985-1992, but afterwards the change in bargaining structure and increased openness led to concessions. Starting in 1985, workers in unionized industries were less likely to be laid off than workers in nonunion industries.

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This chapter was published in:
  • James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10075.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10075
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Adriana Cassoni & Zuleika Ferré, 1997. "Costos no salariales en el mercado de trabajo del Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0897, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
    3. Philippe Aghion & Gilles Saint-Paul, 1998. "Uncovering Some Causal Relationships Between Productivity Growth and the Structure of Economic Fluctuations: A Tentative Survey," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 12(2), pages 279-303, 07.
    4. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. Machin, Stephen J & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1991. "The Effects of Unions on Organisational Change and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 835-54, July.
    6. Steven G. Allen, 1985. "Union Work Rules and Efficiency in the Building Trades," NBER Working Papers 1733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Burgess, Simon M & Dolado, Juan J, 1989. "Intertemporal Rules with Variable Speed of Adjustment: An Application to U.K. Manufacturing Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 347-65, June.
    8. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Gerard A. Pfann, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1264-1292, September.
    9. Boal, William M & Pencavel, John, 1994. "The Effects of Labor Unions on Employment, Wages, and Days of Operation: Coal Mining in West Virginia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 267-98, February.
    10. Rama, Martin, 1997. "Organized Labor and the Political Economy of Product Market Distortions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 327-55, May.
    11. Steven Allen & Adriana Cassoni & Gastón J. Labadie, 1994. "Labor market flexibility and unemployment in Chile and Uruguay," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 21(esp Year ), pages 127-146, November.
    12. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "On Union Preferences and Labour Market Models: Insiders and Outsi ders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(386), pages 431-45, June.
    13. Steven G Allen & Adriana Cassoni & Gastón J Labadie, 1996. "Wages and Employment After Reunionization in Uruguay," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 33(99), pages 277-294.
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