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Wage Compression and Welfare in Sweden

Author

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  • Matthew J. Lindquist

    (Stockholm University)

Abstract

This paper calculates the quantitative significance of the welfare effects of wage compression in Sweden. This is done in a dynamic general equilibrium model with overlapping generations where agents choose both schooling (human capital) and assets (physical capital). This paper shows that when labor markets are competitive even low levels of wage compression lead to large welfare losses, since wage compression creates costly unemployment among low-skilled workers. This welfare loss can be significantly reduced (but not eliminated) if firms and unions bargain over efficient labor contracts. In both cases, the effect of wage compression on the supply of skilled labor is rather small, since the disincentive effect of a lower, high-skilled wage is, to a large extent, offset by a lower opportunity cost of schooling due to higher unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew J. Lindquist, 2000. "Wage Compression and Welfare in Sweden," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0418, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0418
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2005. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality in Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 711-735, December.
    2. Lindquist, Matthew J., 2005. "The welfare costs of union wage compression," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 639-658, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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