Labor Markets and Monetary Union; a Strategic Analysis
This paper analyzes the macroeconomic consequences of the establishment of a monetary union in the presence of unionized labor markets. It is shown that the effects of the formation of a monetary union depend on several labor market features, such as the degree of centralization of wage bargaining, labor unions' inflation aversion and the degree of substitutability between the labor of different unions. In particular, the switch from national monetary policies to a unified monetary policy usually affects both inflation and unemployment, even when all structural parameters of the economy and of unions' and policymakers' preferences remain the same. The benchmark case of a monetary union between identical countries suggests that the switch to a monetary union is likely to make labor unions more aggressive, increasing unemployment. Qualifications to this result are provided and their robustness is investigated under alternative structural assumptions, like crosscountry asymmetries, (preunion) ERM membership and wage leadership.
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