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Unionisation Structures and Firms' Incentives for Productivity Enhancing Investments

Author

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  • Haucap, Justus

    (University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg)

  • Christian Wey

Abstract

This paper examines how unionisation structures that differ in the degree of wage centralisation affect firms' incentives to increase labour productivity. We distinguish three modes of unionisation with increasing degree of centralisation. (1) "Decentralisation" where wages are determined independently at the firm-level, (2) "coordination" where an industry union sets individual wages for all firms at the firm-level, and (3) "centralisation" where a uniform wage rate is set for the entire industry. We show that firms' investment incentives are largest under complete centralisation. However, investment incentives are non-monotone in the degree of centralisation so that "decentralization" carries higher investment incentives than "coordination." Depending on the innovation outcome, workers' wage bill is maximised under centralisation" if firms' productivity differences remain small. Otherwise, workers prefer an intermediate degree of centralisation, which holds innovative activity down at its lowest level. Labour market policy can spur innovation by either decentralising unionisation structures or by imposing non-discrimination rules on monopoly unions.

Suggested Citation

  • Haucap, Justus & Christian Wey, 2003. "Unionisation Structures and Firms' Incentives for Productivity Enhancing Investments," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 102, Royal Economic Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2003:102
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Justus Haucap & Christian Wey, 2004. "Unionisation structures and innovation incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 149-165, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unionised oligopoly; innovation; productivity; labour market institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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