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The Effects of Union Wage-Settings on Firms’ Production Factor Decisions


  • Heshmati, Almas

    () (Jönköping University, Sogang University)

  • Haouas, Ilham

    () (Abu Dhabi University)


This study is concerned with the development of a theoretical model and its empirical application to the estimation of the interaction between firms and trade union in determining wages and employment. The focus is on analyzing the effects of unions’ demands on the firm’s choice of factors of production. In a two-step process the union and firm determine wages and capital stock, conditional on which the firm decides on production factors of employment, working hours and capital operating time. We suggest the use of a panel data approach applied to manufacturing data. A dynamic model is specified in which the optimal levels of the variables of interest and the speed of their adjustments are modeled in terms of observable policy variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Heshmati, Almas & Haouas, Ilham, 2003. "The Effects of Union Wage-Settings on Firms’ Production Factor Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 689, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp689

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anderson, Simon P & Devereux, Michael, 1988. " Trade Unions and the Choice of Capital Stock," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(1), pages 27-44.
    2. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-193.
    3. Pencavel, John, 1985. " Wages and Employment under Trade Unionism: Microeconomic Models and Macroeconomic Applications," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 197-225.
    4. Subal Kumbhakar & Almas Heshmati & Lennart Hjalmarsson, 2002. "How Fast Do Banks Adjust? A Dynamic Model of Labor-Use with an Application to Swedish Banks," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 79-102, July.
    5. Colin Lawrence & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1985. "Manufacturing Wage Dispersion: An End Game Interpretation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 47-116.
    6. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "Trade Unions, Wages and Unemployment: What Can Simple Models Tell Us?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 526-545, November.
    7. Almas Heshmati, 2003. "Productivity Growth, Efficiency and Outsourcing in Manufacturing and Service Industries," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 79-112, February.
    8. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
    9. John H. Pencavel, 1984. "The Tradeoff Between Wages and Employment in Trade Union Objectives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(2), pages 215-231.
    10. Calmfors, Lars & Horn, Henrik, 1985. " Classical Unemployment, Accommodation Policies and Adjustment of Real Wages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 234-261.
    11. Dertouzos, James N & Pencavel, John H, 1981. "Wage and Employment Determination under Trade Unionism: The International Typographical Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1162-1181, December.
    12. Kidd, David P & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "A Dynamic Model of Trade Union Behaviour," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(215), pages 355-365, August.
    13. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 3-39, June.
    14. Holm, Pasi & Honkapohja, Seppo & Koskela, Erkki, 1994. "A monopoly-union model of wage determination with capital and taxes: An empirical application to the Finnish manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 285-303, February.
    15. Horn, Henrik & Svensson, Lars E O, 1986. "Trade Unions and Optimal Labour Contracts," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 323-341, June.
    16. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "The Microeconomic Theory of the Trade Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 576-595, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heshmati, Almas, 2007. "Labor Market Policy Options of the Kurdistan Regional Government," IZA Discussion Papers 3247, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    manufacturing; wage bargaining; employment; capital stock; work hours; capital operating time; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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