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Bargaining Regimes and Wage Dispersion


  • Barth, Erling
  • Zweimuller, Josef


The paper studies the relationship between wage dispersion and centralization. We distinguish between two sources of wage differentials: Heterogenous -workers with different skills and firms with varying levels of economic rent per employee. The corresponding dimensions of centralization, i.e. coordination across skills or across firms and industries, are studied separately. The analysis shows that centralization may produce both lower and higher skills differentials, depending on the relative factor shares of the different types of workers. Inter-firm or -industry wage differentials among workers of identical productive characteristics, on the other hand, is always reduced with a higher degree of centralization. With a high- and a low-wage sector, the central union tends to gain from the shift in employment associated with a narrowing of the wage gap since more workers are employed in the high-wage sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Barth, Erling & Zweimuller, Josef, 1993. "Bargaining Regimes and Wage Dispersion," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt5w75g2d8, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt5w75g2d8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Horn, Henrik & Wolinsky, Asher, 1988. "Worker Substitutability and Patterns of Unionisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 484-497, June.
    2. Holden, Steinar & Raaum, Oddbjorn, 1991. "Wage Moderation and Union Structure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 409-423, July.
    3. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    4. Barth, Erling & Zweimuller, Josef, 1992. "Labor Market Institutions and the Industry Wage Distribution: Evidence from Austria, Norway, and the U.S," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt1811h146, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    5. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, January.
    6. Hoel, Michael, 1989. "Efficiency wages and local versus central wage bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 175-179, August.
    7. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
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    More about this item


    Barth; Zweimuller; bargaining; regimes; wage dispersion;


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