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Globalisation and union opposition to technological change

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2005. "Globalisation and union opposition to technological change," Working Papers in Economics 01/05, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2005_001
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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 Group Munich.
    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. Udo Kreickemeier & Frode Meland, "undated". "International Trade, Union Wage Premia, and Welfare in General Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 11/05, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    12. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813224919_0006 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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.
    15. Paulo Bastos & Natália Pimenta Monteiro & Odd Rune Straume, 2012. "Privatization and corporate restructuring," NIPE Working Papers 10/2012, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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..

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade liberalisation; technology adoption; international unionised oligopoly.;

    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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