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Does product market integration lead to decentralised wage bargaining institutions?


  • Michele Santoni

    (Università degli Studi di Milano)


This paper studies the effects of product market integration on wage-bargaining institutions. It first shows evidence of a negative correlation between the level of wage bargaining and proxy measures of integration, such as the degree of openness and import penetration, for a macro-panel of 17 OECD countries over the 1975-2000 period. It then develops a theoretical model of an import-competing unionised Cournot-Nash oligopoly. The model shows that a reduction in trade barriers, by lowering the sharable surplus between home firms and labour when the final goods are substitutes, gives unions incentives to choose more decentralised wage-bargaining institutions. This industry-level mechanism, however, works in the opposite direction with either complements or two-way trade and homogeneous goods. In these cases, cutting trade barriers raises the sharable surplus and encourages domestic wage-setters to choose more centralised institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Santoni, 2009. "Does product market integration lead to decentralised wage bargaining institutions?," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1091, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:unimip:unimi-1091 Note: oai:cdlib1:unimi-1091

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    Cited by:

    1. Domenico Buccella, 2013. "Unions’ bargaining coordination in multinational enterprises," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 373-392, November.
    2. Beatrice Pagel & Christian Wey, 2013. "Unionization Structures in International Oligopoly," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(1), pages 1-17, March.
    3. Domenico Buccella, 2013. "Unions' bargaining coordination in multi-unit firms," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 217-225.
    4. Domenico Buccella, 2011. "Labor unions and economic integration: A review," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. 0, pages 25-89, January-D.

    More about this item


    Endogenous wage bargaining institutions; Unionised oligopolies; Trade integration;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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