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The rise and fall of centralized wage bargaining

  • Salvador Ortigueira


During the three decades spanning the early 50’s to the early 80’s, the wagesetting process in most Northern European countries was dominated by centralized bargaining, where peak level labor and employer associations set wages nationwide. In the early 80’s centralized wage bargaining began to collapse. In this paper we assess a novel explanation both for the initial establishment of a centralized wagesetting process, and for its subsequent collapse. According to our theory, centralized wage bargaining was set up as a response to the spillovers created by the unemployment benefit program. Its collapse was the result of the increase in the productivity gap across workers, brought about by equipment-specific technological progress and equipment-skill complementarit

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we1129.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1129
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  1. Lundberg, Erik, 1985. "The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 1-36, March.
  2. Cukierman, A. & Lippi, F., 1999. "Labor markets and Monetary Union : A Strategic Analysis," Discussion Paper 1999-100, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Guzzo, Vincenzo & Velasco, Andres, 1999. "The case for a populist Central Banker," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1317-1344, June.
  4. Summers, Lawrence H & Gruber, Jonathan & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1993. "Taxation and the Structure of Labor Markets: The Case of Corporatism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 385-411, May.
  5. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
  6. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2006. "Cyclical Wages in a Search-and-Bargaining Model with Large Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Delacroix, Alain, 2006. "A multisectorial matching model of unions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 573-596, April.
  8. Henrekson, Magnus & Davis, Steven J., 2000. "Wage-Setting Institutions as Industrial Policy," Working Paper Series 529, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2005. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality in Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 711-735, December.
  10. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 1999. "Central bank independence, centralization of wage bargaining, inflation and unemployment:: Theory and some evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1395-1434, June.
  11. Garey Ramey & Wouter J. den Haan & Joel Watson, 2000. "Job Destruction and Propagation of Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 482-498, June.
  12. Rocheteau, Guillaume, 1999. "Balanced-Budget Rules and Indeterminacy of the Equilibrium Unemployment Rate," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 399-409, July.
  13. Lars Calmfors, 2001. "Wages and Wage-Bargaining Institutions in the Emu : A Survey of the Issues," CESifo Working Paper Series 520, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, July.
  15. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
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