IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Preferences for Collective versus Individualised Wage Setting


  • Boeri, Tito

    () (Bocconi University)

  • Burda, Michael C.

    () (Humboldt University Berlin)


Standard models of equilibrium unemployment assume exogenous labour market institutions and flexible wage determination. This paper models wage rigidity and collective bargaining endogenously, when workers differ by observable skill and may adopt either individualized or collective wage bargaining. In the calibrated model, a substantial fraction of workers and firms as well as the median voter prefer collective bargaining to the decentralised regime. A fundamental distortion of the separation decision represented by employment protection (a firing tax) is necessary for such preferences to emerge. Endogenizing collective bargaining can significantly modify comparative statics effects of policy arising in a single-regime setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Boeri, Tito & Burda, Michael C., 2008. "Preferences for Collective versus Individualised Wage Setting," IZA Discussion Papers 3365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3365

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    2. Lars Ljungqvist, 2002. "How Do Lay--off Costs Affect Employment?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 829-853, October.
    3. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
    4. Burda, Michael C, 1992. " A Note on Firing Costs and Severance Benefits in Equilibrium Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(3), pages 479-489.
    5. David T. Coe & Dennis J. Snower, 1997. "Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labor Market Reform," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 1-35, March.
    6. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
    9. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "European Unemployment and Turbulence Revisited in a Matching Model," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 456-468, 04/05.
    10. Fonseca, Raquel & Lopez-Garcia, Paloma & Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Entrepreneurship, start-up costs and employment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 692-705, May.
    11. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293323.
    12. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2005. "The consequences of labor market flexibility: Panel evidence based on survey data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1225-1259, July.
    13. Pietro Garibaldi & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "The Employment Effects of Severance Payments with Wage Rigidities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 799-832, October.
    14. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627 Elsevier.
    15. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
    16. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-938, October.
    17. Eran Yashiv, 2000. "The Determinants of Equilibrium Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1297-1322, December.
    18. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
    19. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
    20. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Donado, Alejandro & Wälde, Klaus, 2010. "How bad is globalization for labour standards in the north?," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 84, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
    2. Alejandro Donado & Klaus Wa¨lde, 2012. "How trade unions increase welfare," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 990-1009, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Krusell, Per & Rudanko, Leena, 2016. "Unions in a frictional labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 35-50.
    5. Andrea Vindigni & Simone Scotti & Cristina Tealdi, 2015. "Uncertainty and the Politics of Employment Protection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 209-267.
    6. Stella Capuano & Andreas Hauptmann & Jans-Jörg Schmerer, 2014. "Trade and Unions: Can Exporters Benefit from Collective Bargaining?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5096, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Boeri, Tito, 2012. "Setting the minimum wage," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 281-290.
    8. Basak, Debasmita & Wang, Leonard F.S., 2016. "Endogenous choice of price or quantity contract and the implications of two-part-tariff in a vertical structure," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 53-56.
    9. Murtin, Fabrice & de Serres, Alain & Hijzen, Alexander, 2014. "Unemployment and the coverage extension of collective wage agreements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 52-66.
    10. Eliav Danziger & Leif Danziger, 2015. "A Pareto-improving Minimum Wage," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(326), pages 236-252, April.
    11. Launov, Andrey & Wälde, Klaus, 2016. "The employment effect of reforming a public employment agency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 140-164.
    12. Hirsch, Boris & Merkl, Christian & Müller, Steffen & Schnabel, Claus, 2014. "Centralized vs. decentralized wage formation: The role of firms' production technology," Kiel Working Papers 1927, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Lilia Cavallari, 2010. "Fiscal and monetary interactions when wage-setters are large: is there a role for corporatist policies?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 291-309, July.
    14. Hamzeh Arabzadeh, 2016. "The political economy of twin deficits and wage setting centralization," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016017, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    15. Alejandro Donado & Klaus Wälde, 2008. "Trade Unions Go Global!," CESifo Working Paper Series 2368, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. John T. Addison, 2016. "Collective bargaining systems and macroeconomic and microeconomic flexibility: the quest for appropriate institutional forms in advanced economies," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-53, December.
    17. repec:ilo:ilowps:469448 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Makoto Masui, 2013. "Temporary Contracts, Employment Protection, and Collective Bargaining," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(4), pages 371-398, December.
    19. Jimeno, Juan F. & Thomas, Carlos, 2013. "Collective bargaining, firm heterogeneity and unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 63-79.
    20. repec:eee:labeco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:1-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Donado, Alejandro. & Wälde, Klaus., 2012. "Globalization, trade unions and labour standards in the North," ILO Working Papers 994694483402676, International Labour Organization.

    More about this item


    wage rigidity; employment protection; equilibrium unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3365. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.