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Product Market Regulation and Endogenous Union Formation


  • Ebell, Monique

    () (Humboldt University Berlin)

  • Haefke, Christian

    () (New York University, Abu Dhabi)


We contribute to the growing literature which aims to link product market regulation and competition to labor market outcomes, in an attempt to explain the divergent US and continental European labor market performance over the past two decades. The main contributions of this paper are threefold. First, we show that the choice of bargaining regime is crucial for the effect of product market competition on unemployment rates, being substantial under collective bargaining and considerably more modest under individual bargaining. Since the choice of bargaining institution is so important, we endogenize it. We find that the bargaining regime which emerges endogenously depends crucially on the degree of product market competition. When product market competition is low, collective bargaining is stable, while individual bargaining emerges as the stable institution under high degrees of product market competition. This also allows us to link product market competition and collective bargaining coverage rates. Our results suggest that the strong decline in collective bargaining coverage and unionization in the US and UK over the last two decades might have been a direct consequence of the Reagan/Thatcher product market reforms of the early 80’s. Finally, we calibrate the model to assess the quantitative magnitude of our results. We find that moving from the US low regulation-individual bargaining economy to the EU high regulation-collective bargaining economy leads to a substantial increase in equilibrium unemployment rates from 5.5% to 8.9 % in the model economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ebell, Monique & Haefke, Christian, 2006. "Product Market Regulation and Endogenous Union Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2222, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2222

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hervé Boulhol & Sabien Dobbelaere & Sara Maioli, 2011. "Imports as Product and Labour Market Discipline," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(2), pages 331-361, June.
    2. Monique Ebell & Christian Haefke, 2009. "Product Market Deregulation and the U.S. Employment Miracle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 479-504, July.
    3. Florian Baumann & Tobias Brändle, 2015. "We Want them all Covered! Collective Bargaining and Firm Heterogeneity. Theory and Evidence from Germany," IAW Discussion Papers 114, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    4. Finn Martensen, 2014. "Opposite Effects of Competition and Rents on Collective Bargaining – Evidence from Germany," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2014-15, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    5. Brändle, Tobias & Baumann, Florian, 2013. "Union Bargaining and Intra-Industry Productivity Differentials: Theory and Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79852, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Krusell, Per & Rudanko, Leena, 2016. "Unions in a frictional labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 35-50.
    7. José Ramón García & Valeri Sorolla, 2016. "The Calmfors-Driffill Hypothesis with Labour Market Frictions and Regulated Goods Markets," Working Papers 889, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    8. Valeri Sorolla & José Ramón García, 2015. "When is there more employment, with individual or collective wage setting?," Working Papers 853, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    9. Albrecht Ritschl & Monique Ebell, 2007. "Real Origins of the Great Depression: Monopoly Power, Unions and the American Business Cycle in the 1920s," 2007 Meeting Papers 712, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Sabien Dobbelaere & Rodolfo Lauterbach & Jacques Mairesse, 2016. "Micro-evidence on product and labor market regime differences between Chile and France," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 229-252, May.
    11. Susanne Prantl & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2013. "Interacting Product and Labor Market Regulation and the Impact of Immigration on Native Wages," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_22, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    12. Boulhol, Herv, 2009. "Do capital market and trade liberalization trigger labor market deregulation?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 223-233, April.
    13. Koskela, Erkki & Stenbacka, Rune, 2012. "The relationship between product market competition and unemployment with profit sharing," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 291-297.
    14. Hartmut Egger & Frode Meland, 2011. "Product and Labor Market Deregulation in Unionized Oligopoly with Asymmetric Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3611, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Dobbelaere, Sabien & Kiyota, Kozo & Mairesse, Jacques, 2015. "Product and labor market imperfections and scale economies: Micro-evidence on France, Japan and the Netherlands," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 290-322.
    16. Valeri Sorolla, 2014. "The Long Run Effect of Growth on Employment in a Labor Market with Matching Frictions: The Role of Labor Market Institutions," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 949.14, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC), revised 02 Feb 2015.
    17. García Martínez, José Ramón & Sorolla i Amat, Valeri, 2017. "When is there more employment, with individual or collective wage bargaining?," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-87, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    18. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00118951 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Ebell, Monique & Ritschl, Albrecht, 2007. "Real Origins of the Great Depression: Monopolistic Competition, Union Power, and the American Business Cycle in the 1920s," CEPR Discussion Papers 6146, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Torben Andersen & Jan Skaksen, 2007. "Labour Demand, Wage Mark-ups and Product Market Integration," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 103-135, October.
    21. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Michael P. Devereux & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2008. "Chapter 3: The effect of globalisation on Western European jobs: curse or blessing?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 71-104, February.
    22. Açıkgöz, Ömer Tuğrul & Kaymak, Barış, 2014. "The rising skill premium and deunionization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 37-50.
    23. repec:eee:labeco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:1-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Edgar Preugschat, 2009. "Unionization Patterns and Firm Reallocation," 2009 Meeting Papers 1114, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    25. Charlot, Olivier & Malherbet, Franck & Terra, Cristina, 2015. "Informality in developing economies: Regulation and fiscal policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1-27.

    More about this item


    wage bargaining; product market competition; European Unemployment Puzzle; overhiring;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure

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