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Training and Product Quality in Unionized Oligopolies

  • E. Bacchiega
  • A. Minniti

In this paper we analyze the private and public incentives towards skill acquisition when the skill level of workers determines the quality level of goods, and both labor and product markets are non competitive. We delve into the mechanisms that determine the equilibrium skill acquisition outcomes and show that both "pure" (training set by either firms or unions only) and "mixed" (training set by firms and unions) training scenarios may emerge at equilibrium. We show that firms have generally greater training incentives than unions, resulting in a higher product quality. In line with empirical evidence, we also find that the wage differential between high-skill workers and low-skill workers is lower when the training levels of the workforce are selected by unions than by firms. Finally, we analyze the optimal public training skill levels and demonstrate that both unions and firms under-invest in training in comparison with the social optimum. Yet, in this case the skill premium is the lowest.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp871.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp871
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
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  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1999. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F112-42, February.
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  7. GABSZEWICZ, Jean & TURRINI, Alessandro, 1997. "Workers’ skills, product quality and industry equilibrium," CORE Discussion Papers 1997055, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Greenaway, David & Torstensson, Johan, 2000. "Economic Geography, Comparative Advantage and Trade within Industries: Evidence from the OECD," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 15, pages 260-280.
  9. BACCHIEGA, Emanuele, 2002. "Wage bargaining and vertical differentiation," CORE Discussion Papers 2002076, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Booth, Alison L & Chatterji, Monojit, 1998. "Unions and Efficient Training," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 328-43, March.
  11. GABSZEWICZ, Jean & TURRINI, Alessandro, 1999. "Workers’skills and product selection," CORE Discussion Papers 1999006, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 3-23, October.
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  16. Joan Martín-Montaner & Vicente Ríos, 2002. "Vertical specialization and intra-industry trade: The role of factor endowments," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(2), pages 340-365, June.
  17. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1979. "The Two Faces of Unionism," NBER Working Papers 0364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Naylor, Robin, 1998. "International trade and economic integration when labour markets are generally unionised," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1251-1267, July.
  19. Webster, Allan, 1993. "The Skill and Higher Educational Content of UK Net Exports," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 55(2), pages 141-59, May.
  20. Toke Skovsgaard Aidt & Vania Sena, 2005. "Unions: Rent Creators or Extractors?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 103-121, 03.
  21. Daron Acemoglu, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 445-464.
  22. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  23. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
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