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Globalisation And Union Opposition To Technological Change

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  • Kjell Lommerud
  • Frode Meland
  • Odd Rune Straume

Abstract

We find that trade unions have a rational incentive to oppose the adoption of labour-saving technology when labour demand is inelastic and unions care much for employment relative to wages. Trade liberalisation typically increases trade union technology opposition. These conclusions are reached in a model of international duopoly with monopoly wage setting in one of the countries, and two-way trade. An important stepping stone for the result is to note that even though trade liberalisation means a tougher competitive environment for firms, labour demand tends to increase. We also find that the incentive for technology opposition is stronger in the more technologically advanced country and in the country with the larger home market, complementing earlier explanations for technological catch-up and leapfrogging.
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  • Kjell Lommerud & Frode Meland & Odd Rune Straume, 2004. "Globalisation And Union Opposition To Technological Change," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 49, Royal Economic Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2004:49
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    Cited by:

    1. Braun, Sebastian, 2011. "Unionisation structures, productivity and firm performance: New insights from a heterogeneous firm model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 120-129, January.
    2. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Straume, Odd Rune & Vagstad, Steinar, 2012. "Employment protection and unemployment benefits: on technology adoption and job creation in a matching model," Working Papers in Economics 18/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    3. Udo Kreickemeier & Frode Meland, 2017. "Non-Traded Goods, Globalization, and Union Influence," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 7, pages 173-201, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2009. "Can deunionization lead to international outsourcing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 109-119, February.
    5. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "North–South technology transfer in unionised multinationals," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 385-395.
    6. Silvia Rocha-Akis, 2012. "The Pain and Gain of Offshoring: The Effects of Tax Progression in a Segmented Labour Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 3739, CESifo.
    7. Bastos, Paulo & Kreickemeier, Udo & Wright, Peter, 2009. "Oligopoly, open shop unions and trade liberalisation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 679-686, November.
    8. Sly, Nicholas & Soderbery, Anson, 2014. "Strategic sourcing and wage bargaining," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 172-187.
    9. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Odd Rune Straume, 2012. "Employment Protection Versus Flexicurity: On Technology Adoption in Unionised Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 177-199, March.
    10. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2015. "Competition, work rules and productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 136-149.
    11. Kreickemeier, Udo & Meland, Frode, 2011. "International Trade, Union Wage Premia,and Welfare in General Equilibrium," Working Papers in Economics 04/11, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    12. Paulo Bastos & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Unions, Competition, and International Trade in General Equilibrium," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 6, pages 143-172, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    13. Klaus Desmet & Stephen Parente, 2014. "Resistance to Technology Adoption: The Rise and Decline of Guilds," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(3), pages 437-458, July.
    14. Kostøl, Fredrik B. & Svarstad, Elin, 2023. "Trade Unions and the Process of Technological Change," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    15. Peter W. Wright & Paulo Bastos, 2012. "Exchange Rates and Wages in Unionized Labor Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(4), pages 975-999, October.
    16. Paulo Bastos & Natália Pimenta Monteiro & Odd Rune Straume, 2012. "Privatization and corporate restructuring," NIPE Working Papers 10/2012, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    17. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Straume, Odd Rune, 2007. "Technology resistance and globalisation with trade unions: the choice between employment protection and flexicurity," Working Papers in Economics 13/07, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    18. Dumont, Michel & Rayp, Glenn & Willemé, Peter, 2012. "The bargaining position of low-skilled and high-skilled workers in a globalising world," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 312-319.
    19. Bastos, Paulo & Bottan, Nicolas, 2023. "Resource rents, coercion, and local development: Evidence from post-apartheid South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    20. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Odd Rune Straume & Steinar Vagstad, 2018. "Employment Protection and Unemployment Benefits: On Technology Adoption and Job Creation in a Matching Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(3), pages 763-793, July.
    21. Balsmeier, Benjamin, 2017. "Unions, collective relations laws and R&D investment in emerging and developing countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 292-304.
    22. Luciano Fanti & Domenico Buccella, 2020. "Pareto-Superiority of Corporate Social Responsibility in Unionised Industries," Arthaniti: Journal of Economic Theory and Practice, , vol. 19(2), pages 131-150, December.
    23. Hristos Doucouliagos & Patrice Laroche, 2013. "Unions and Innovation: New Insights From the Cross-Country Evidence," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 467-491, April.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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