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Unions in a Frictional Labor Market

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  • Leena Rudanko

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University, and NBER)

  • Per Krusell

    () (Stockholm University, CEPR, and NBER)

Abstract

We analyze a labor market with search and matching frictions where wage setting is controlled by a monopoly union. We take a benevolent view of the union in assuming it to care equally about employed and unemployed workers and we assume, moreover, that it is fully rational, thus taking job creation into account when making its wage demands. Under these assumptions, if the union is also able to fully commit to future wages it generates an efficient level of long-run unemployment. However, in the short run, it uses its market power to collect surpluses from firms with existing matches by raising current wages above the efficient level. These elements give rise to a time inconsistency. Without commitment, and in a Markov-perfect equilibrium, not only is unemployment well above its efficient level, but the union wage also exhibits endogenous real stickiness which amplifies the responses of vacancy creation and unemployment to shocks. We consider extensions to partial unionization and collective bargaining between a labor union and an employers’ association.

Suggested Citation

  • Leena Rudanko & Per Krusell, 2012. "Unions in a Frictional Labor Market," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2012-014, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2012-014
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    Cited by:

    1. Cardullo, Gabriele & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2018. "Unions, Two-Tier Bargaining and Physical Capital Investment: Theory and Firm-Level Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 12008, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Brenzel, Hanna & Gartner, Hermann & Schnabel, Claus, 2014. "Wage bargaining or wage posting? Evidence from the employers' side," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 41-48.
    3. Cardullo, Gabriele & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2015. "Sunk capital, unions and the hold-up problem: Theory and evidence from cross-country sectoral data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 253-274.
    4. Camilo Alberto Cárdenas Hurtado & María Alejandra Hernández Montes & Jhon Edwar Torres Gorron, 2015. "A Statistical Analysis of Heterogeneity on Labour Markets and Unemployment Rates in Colombia," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, August.
    5. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2015. "Competition, work rules and productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 136-149.
    6. Emin M. Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 18079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Cai, Xiaoming & Gautier, Pieter A. & Teulings, Coen N. & Watanabe, Makoto, 2014. "Collective versus decentralized wage bargaining and the efficient allocation of resources," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 34-42.
    8. G. Cardullo & M. Conti & G. Sulis, 2018. "Unions, Two-Tier Bargaining and Physical Capital Investment: Theory and Firm-Level Evidence from Italy," Working Paper CRENoS 201812, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    9. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:70:y:2017:i:3:p:733-766 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dinlersoz, Emin & Greenwood, Jeremy & Hyatt, Henry R., 2014. "Who Do Unions Target? Unionization over the Life-Cycle of U.S. Businesses," IZA Discussion Papers 8416, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    12. Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood & Henry Hyatt, 2017. "What Businesses Attract Unions? Unionization over the Life Cycle of U.S. Establishments," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(3), pages 733-766, May.
    13. José Ramón García & Valeri Sorolla, 2016. "The Calmfors-Driffill Hypothesis with Labour Market Frictions and Regulated Goods Markets," Working Papers 889, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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    15. Finn Martensen, 2014. "Opposite Effects of Competition and Rents on Collective Bargaining – Evidence from Germany," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2014-15, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
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    17. García Martínez, José Ramón & Sorolla i Amat, Valeri, 2017. "When is there more employment, with individual or collective wage bargaining?," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-87, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    18. Cords, Dario, 2017. "Endogenous technology, matching, and labor unions: Does low-skilled immigration affect the technological alignment of the host country?," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 20-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor unions; frictional labor markets; time-inconsistency;

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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