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Oligopsony, Institutions and the Efficiency of General Training

  • Booth, Alison L.

    ()

    (Australian National University)

  • Francesconi, Marco

    ()

    (University of Essex)

  • Zoega, Gylfi

    ()

    (Birkbeck College, University of London)

In oligopsonistic labour markets, firms have some market power, and a wedge is created between wages and marginal product. When oligopsonistic firms' production technology requires generally trained workers, firms may therefore receive part of the returns to general training and be willing to pay for it despite its general nature. However this outcome is not efficient, in the sense that too few workers are trained and workers who are hired receive too little training. We consider how different institutions can affect this inefficiency. Industry-level minimum wages can remove the training inefficiency and provide workers with the right incentives to invest in general training. A training subsidy to firms can also be used to achieve first-best. Trade unions might also remedy the market failure, in two ways. First, if an industry-wide union has a direct say in the training decision and maximises the utility of a representative worker, it will choose the efficient level of training intensity. Second, firmspecific unions, through raising relative wages and reducing turnover, can increase training intensity.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 618.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: J. Messina, C. Michelacci, J. Turunen and G. Zoega (eds.), Proceedings of the 2004 ECB/CEPR Labour Market Workshop, Edward Elgar 2006
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp618
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  1. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Barron, John M & Fuess, Scott M, Jr & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1987. "Further Analysis of the Effect of Unions on Training [Union Wages, Temporary Layoffs, and Seniority]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 632-40, June.
  3. Acemoglu, D. & Pischki, J.S., 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," Working papers 96-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Alison L. Booth & Marco Francesconi & Gylfi Zoega, 2003. "Unions, work-related training, and wages: Evidence for British men," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 68-91, October.
  5. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2000. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0021, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  6. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 1997. "On-the-Job Training," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ojt, March.
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