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The Impact of Deunionization on the Growth and Dispersion of Productivity and Pay

Author

Listed:
  • Giovanni Dosi
  • Richard B. Freeman
  • Marcelo C. Pereira
  • Andrea Roventini
  • Maria Enrica Virgillito

Abstract

This paper presents an Agent-Based Model (ABM) that seeks to explain the concordance of sluggish growth of productivity and of real wages found in macro-economic statistics, and the increased dispersion of firm productivity and worker earnings found in micro level statistics in advanced economies at the turn of the 21st century. It shows that a single market process unleashed by the decline of unionization can account for both the macro and micro economic phenomena, and that deunionization can be modeled as an endogenous outcome of competition between high wage firms seeking to raise productive capacity and low productivity firms seeking to cut wages. The model highlights the antipodal competitive dynamics between a “winner-takes-all economy” in which corporate strategies focused on cost reductions lead to divergence in productivity and wages and a “social market economy” in which competition rewards the accumulation of firm-level capabilities and worker skills with a more egalitarian wage structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Dosi & Richard B. Freeman & Marcelo C. Pereira & Andrea Roventini & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "The Impact of Deunionization on the Growth and Dispersion of Productivity and Pay," NBER Working Papers 26634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26634
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    22. Henry S. Farber & Daniel Herbst & Ilyana Kuziemko & Suresh Naidu, 2018. "Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 24587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    27. Giovanni Dosi & Marcelo C. Pereira & Andrea Roventini & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2018. "Causes et consequences of hysteresis : aggregate demand, productivity and employment," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4h9cnu4n2k8, Sciences Po.
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    32. Cyrille Schwellnus & Andreas Kappeler & Pierre-Alain Pionnier, 2017. "Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1373, OECD Publishing.
    33. Müge Adalet McGowan & Dan Andrews & Valentine Millot, 2017. "Insolvency regimes, zombie firms and capital reallocation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1399, OECD Publishing.
    34. Giovanni Dosi & Marcelo Pereira & Andrea Roventini & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2018. "Causes et consequences of hysteresis : aggregate demand, productivity and employment," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/hiaqa97n684, Sciences Po.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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