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30,000 minimum wages: The economic effects of collective agreement extensions

  • Pedro S. Martins

Several countries extend collective bargaining agreements to entire sectors, therefore binding non-subscriber workers and employers. These extensions may address coordination issues but may also impose sector-specific minimum wages and other work conditions that are not appropriate for several workers and firms. In this paper, we analyse the impact of such extensions along several margins drawing on firm-level monthly data for Portugal, a country where extensions have been widespread until recently. We find that both formal employment and wage bills in the relevant sector fall, on average, by 2% - and by 25% more across small firms - over the four months after an extension is issued. These results are driven by both reduced hirings and increased firm closures. On the other hand, informal work, not subject to labour law or extensions, tends to increase. Our findings are robust to several checks, including a falsification exercise based on extensions that were announced but not implemented.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research in its series Working Papers with number 51.

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Date of creation: Jun 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:51
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  1. Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Dismissals for cause: The difference that just eight paragraphs can make," Working Papers 24, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  2. John M. Abowd & Thomas Lemieux, 1991. "The Effects of Product Market Competition on Collective Bargaining Agreements: The Case of Foreign Competition in Canada," NBER Working Papers 3808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Justus Haucap & Uwe Pauly & Christian Wey, 2000. "Collective Wage Setting When Wages Are Generally Binding: An Antitrust Perspective," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-01, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  4. Cabral, Luís M B & Mata, José, 2001. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 3045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Martins, Pedro S., 2004. "Rent Sharing Before and After the Wage Bill," IZA Discussion Papers 1376, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. FERNANDO MARTINS & Daniel Dias & Carlos Marques, 2013. "Wage rigidity and employment adjustment at the firm level: Evidence from survey data," EcoMod2013 4944, EcoMod.
  7. Du Caju, Philip & Gautier, Erwan & Momferatou, Daphne & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie, 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working Paper Series 0974, European Central Bank.
  8. Card, David & Devicienti, Francesco & Maida, Agata, 2011. "Rent-Sharing, Hold-up, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6086, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F214-F244, June.
  10. Avouyi-Dovi, Sanvi & Fougère, Denis & Gautier, Erwan, 2011. "Wage Rigidity, Collective Bargaining and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from French Agreement Data," IZA Discussion Papers 5835, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 170-187, May.
  12. Pedro Portugal & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2006. "Disentangling the Minimum Wage Puzzle: An Analysis of Worker Accessions and Separations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 988-1013, 09.
  13. Pedro Portugal & Hugo Vilares, 2013. "Labor unions, union density and the union wage premium," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  14. Pedro S. Martins & Gary Solon & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2012. "Measuring What Employers Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle: A New Approach," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 36-55, October.
  15. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
  16. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Pedro Martins & Andy Snell & Jonathan P. Thomas, 2010. "Downward Wage Rigidity in a Model of Equal Treatment Contracting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 841-863, December.
  18. Boeri, Tito, 2009. "Setting the Minimum Wage," IZA Discussion Papers 4335, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Worker Churning and Firms’ Wage Policies," Working Papers 13, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  20. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
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