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North-South Trade, Unemployment and Growth: What’s the Role of Labor Unions?

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  • Wolf-Heimo Grieben

    () (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

  • Fuat Sener

    () (Department of Economics, Union College, Schenectady, New York, USA)

Abstract

We construct a North-South product-cycle model of trade with fully-endogenous growth in which both countries experience unemployment due to union wage bargaining. We find that unilateral Northern trade liberalization reduces growth and increases unemployment in both countries, while unilateral Southern trade liberalization has the opposite effects. We show that the existence of labor unions matters for trade liberalization to have any effect on Northern innovation and worldwide growth. For empirically plausible parameter values, bilateral trade liberalization by equal amounts increases growth and reduces unemployment in both countries. Stronger Northern labor unions hurt both countries by reducing growth and increasing unemployment. However, stronger Southern labor unions exert a positive growth effect for both countries, while decreasing Northern unemployment and increasing Southern unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolf-Heimo Grieben & Fuat Sener, 2012. "North-South Trade, Unemployment and Growth: What’s the Role of Labor Unions?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-06, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1206
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    Cited by:

    1. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "North–South technology transfer in unionised multinationals," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 385-395.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade liberalization; product cycle; endogenous growth; labor unions; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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