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An Analysis of Labour Adjustment Costs in Unionized Economies

Author

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  • Modesto, Leonor

    () (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Lisbon)

  • Thomas, Jonathan P.

    () (University of Edinburgh)

Abstract

In this paper we conduct a theoretical analysis of the implications of a union which can exploit the existence of firm labour adjustment costs. We consider a model involving a large number of identical firms facing a single, economy-wide union. We solve (i) for the Markov perfect equilibria with no commitment, under the assumption that the union chooses wages each period and firms react by choosing employment, and (ii) for the commitment equilibria where the union can precommit to the entire (infinite) sequence of wages. We conclude that the speed of adjustment of employment, that is higher in the no-commitment case, decreases with adjustment costs in both models. Moreover adjustment costs affect the long run values of employment and wages only in the no-commitment case, i.e., the higher the relevance of adjustment costs the higher the wage and therefore the smaller the level of employment in the long run. Commitment on the part of the union leads to lower wages, and moreover is beneficial to firms as well as to the union. Given that the union would like to commit to a lower path of wages we consider whether reputation building is desirable.

Suggested Citation

  • Modesto, Leonor & Thomas, Jonathan P., 2000. "An Analysis of Labour Adjustment Costs in Unionized Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp225
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Pfann, Gerald A. & Verspagen, Bart, 1989. "The structure of adjustment costs for labour in the Dutch manufacturing sector," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 365-371.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gugler, Klaus & Yurtoglu, B. Burcin, 2004. "The effects of mergers on company employment in the USA and Europe," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 481-502, April.
    2. Krusell, Per & Rudanko, Leena, 2016. "Unions in a frictional labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 35-50.
    3. Den Haan, Wouter J. & Kobielarz, Michal L. & Rendahl, Pontus, 2015. "Exact present solution with consistent future approximation: a gridless algorithm to solve stochastic dynamic models," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86278, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Giulio Piccirilli, 2007. "Job protection, industrial relations and employment," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia dell'Impresa e del Lavoro ieil0050, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    5. Cabo, Francisco & Martín-Román, Ángel L., 2017. "Dynamic collective bargaining. Frictional effects under open-shop industrial relations," MPRA Paper 77562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Leonor Modesto, 2008. "Unions, Firing Costs, and Unemployment," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(3), pages 509-546, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labour adjustment costs; Markov perfect equilibria; Unions;

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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