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The Influence of Product Markets on Industrial Relations

Product markets are the foundation on which industrial relations institutions are built. Trade union strength is partly dependent upon the state of the labour market, but it is imperfections in the product market that are the precondition of their winning benefits for their members. Sectoral agreements consequently formed the basis for collective bargaining in most industrialised countries. But international competition has destroyed this for much of the private sector. Quasi-markets have undermined it for much of the public sector. The paper assesses the empirical economic literature on the impact of product markets. It considers enthnographic insights into how competitive pressures feed through to managerial behaviour. It concludes with alternative strategies - co-operative bargaining, legislative intervention, and consumer campaigns - that seek to defend labour standards from competitive erosion.

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File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe0652.pdf
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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0652.

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Length: 18
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0652
Note: IO
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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  1. Ulman, Lloyd, 1974. "Connective Bargaining and Competitive Bargaining," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 21(2), pages 97-109, June.
  2. Ajit Singh, 2004. "Labour Standards and the 'Race to the Bottom': Rethinking Globalization and Workers' Rights from Developmental and Solidaristic Perspectives," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 85-104, Spring.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521540384 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521832823 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Nolan, Peter & Brown, William, 1983. "Competition and Workplace Wage Determination," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 45(3), pages 269-87, August.
  6. Machin, Stephen & Stewart, Mark, 1996. "Trade Unions and Financial Performance," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 213-41, April.
  7. Brown, William & Terry, Michael, 1978. "The Changing Nature of National Wage Agreements," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 25(2), pages 119-33, June.
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