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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
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Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:51
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  1. 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.
  2. Dias, Daniel A. & Marques, Carlos Robalo & Martins, Fernando, 2013. "Wage rigidity and employment adjustment at the firm level: Evidence from survey data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 40-49.
  3. Philip Ducaju & Erwan Gautier & Daphné Momferatou & Mélanie Ward-Warmedinge, 2008. "Institutional features of wage bargaining in 23 European countries, the US and Japan," Working Paper Research 154, National Bank of Belgium.
  4. Avouyi-Dovi, Sanvi & Fougère, Denis & Gautier, Erwan, 2010. "Wage Rigidity, Collective Bargaining and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from French Agreement Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7932, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Portugal, Pedro & Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2002. "Disentangling the Minimum Wage Puzzle: An Analysis of Worker Accessions and Separations," IZA Discussion Papers 544, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1996. "The Entry and Exit of Workers and the Growth of Employment: An Analysis of French Establishments," NBER Working Papers 5551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. David Card & Francesco Devicienti & Agata Maida, 2010. "Rent-sharing, Holdup, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 16192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Boeri, Tito, 2009. "Setting the Minimum Wage," IZA Discussion Papers 4335, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. Martins, Pedro S., 2004. "Rent Sharing Before and After the Wage Bill," IZA Discussion Papers 1376, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Worker churning and firms' wage policies," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 48-63, May.
  14. Haucap, Justus & Pauly, Uwe & Wey, Christian, 2001. "Collective wage setting when wages are generally binding An antitrust perspective," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 287-307, September.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  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. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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