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Why could Northern labor market flexibility save the eurozone?

  • Amélie Barbier-Gauchard
  • Francesco de Palma
  • Giuseppe Diana

    ()

    (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)

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    We consider a heterogeneous labor market in a two-country monetary union. The domestic economy is characterized by a dual labor market with formal and informal sectors as observed in most Southern EMU economies. Among formal workers, wage-levels result from efficiency considerations. In the foreign economy, with reference to Northern EMU economies, we assume another type of wage rigidity explained by the presence of unions. More precisely, only wages are bargained between firms and employees as in the right-to-manage model. These rigidities lead to inefficient allocations of workers in each country: a misallocation of workers among sectors in the domestic country and unemployment in the foreign one. In this context, the labor market flexibilization may appear as a relevant option for improving the situation of activity and employment in the monetary union. This is the reason why we investigate the overall effects of a decrease in trade union bargaining power in the foreign (Northern) economy. We show that, at the new equilibrium, a lower bargaining power in the foreign economy leads to a decrease in all prices and the effects are positive overall. In the foreign economy, the equilibrium level of production is higher, unemployment decreases and wages are lower. In the domestic one, the production also increases, the labor market benefits from a better allocation of workers between formal and informal sectors, and all wages are higher.

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    Paper provided by Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center with number 2013-08.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:lar:wpaper:2013-08
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    1. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-031, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
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