Union structure and firms incentives for cooperative R&D investments
This paper investigates the impact of alternative unionization structures on firms' incentives to spend on cost-reducing R&D activities as well as to form a Research Joint Venture, in the presence of R&D spillovers. We show that, in contrast to the "hold up" argument, if firms invest non-cooperatively and spillovers are low, R&D investments are higher when an industry-wide union sets a uniform wage rate than under firm-level unions. In contrast, investments are always higher under firm-level unions in the case of RJVs. Firms' incentives to form an RJV are non-monotonic in the degree of centralization of the wage-setting, with the incentives being stronger under an industry-wide union if and only if spillovers are low enough. Finally, centralized wage-setting as well as high unemployment benefits may hinder the formation of costly RJVs and their potential welfare benefits.
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