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Unions, Innovation and Cross-Country Wage Inequality

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  • Chu, Angus C.
  • Cozzi, Guido
  • Furukawa, Yuichi

Abstract

This study explores the macroeconomic effects of labor unions in a two-country R&D-based growth model in which the market size of each country determines the incentives for innovation. We find that an increase in the bargaining power of a wage-oriented union leads to a decrease in employment in the domestic economy. This result has two important implications on innovation. First, it reduces the rates of innovation and economic growth. Second, it causes innovation to be directed to the foreign economy, which in turn causes a negative effect on domestic wages relative to foreign wages in the long run. We also derive welfare implications and calibrate our model to data in the US and the UK to quantify the effects of labor unions on social welfare and wage inequality across countries. Our calibrated model is able to explain about half of the decrease in relative wage between the US and the UK from 1980 to 2007. Furthermore, the decrease in unions' bargaining power leads to quantitatively significant welfare gains in the two countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Furukawa, Yuichi, 2015. "Unions, Innovation and Cross-Country Wage Inequality," MPRA Paper 68447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:68447
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    Cited by:

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    2. Chu, Angus C. & Kou, Zonglai & Wang, Xilin, 2020. "Dynamic effects of minimum wage on growth and innovation in a Schumpeterian economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    3. Viorel Rotila, 2019. "The Future of Social Dialogue in the Age of Artificial Intelligence," Postmodern Openings, Editura Lumen, Department of Economics, vol. 10(3), pages 151-189, September.
    4. Chen, W.D., 2018. "Upward wage rigidity and Japan's dispatched worker system," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 152-162.
    5. Colin Davis & Ken-ichi Hashimoto & Ken Tabata, 2021. "Unionization, Industry Concentration, and Economic Growth," ISER Discussion Paper 1154, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    6. Grieben, Wolf-Heimo & Şener, Fuat, 2017. "Wage bargaining, trade and growth," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 564-587.
    7. Unsal, Omer & Brodmann, Jennifer, 2019. "Workplace environment and payout policy," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    8. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2021. "International outsourcing and trade union (de-)centralisation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 76-91.
    9. Basak, Debasmita & Mukherjee, Arijit, 2018. "Labour unionisation structure and product innovation," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 98-110.
    10. T. Gries & R. Grundmann & I. Palnau & M. Redlin, 2017. "Innovations, growth and participation in advanced economies - a review of major concepts and findings," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 293-351, April.
    11. Tao Tang & Lizeth Cuesta & Brayan Tillaguango & Rafael Alvarado & Abdul Rehman & Diana Bravo-Benavides & Natalia Zárate, 2022. "Causal Link between Technological Innovation and Inequality Moderated by Public Spending, Manufacturing, Agricultural Employment, and Export Diversification," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(14), pages 1-25, July.
    12. Chu, Angus C. & Kou, Zonglai & Liu, Xueyue, 2018. "Labor union and the wealth-income ratio," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 29-35.
    13. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Furukawa, Yuichi & Liao, Chih-Hsing, 2019. "Effects of Minimum Wage on Automation and Innovation in a Schumpeterian Economy," MPRA Paper 95824, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Neto, António & Furukawa, Yuichi & Ribeiro, Ana Paula, 2017. "Can Trade Unions Increase Social Welfare? An R&D Model with Cash-in-Advance Constraints," MPRA Paper 77312, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Colin Davis & Ken-ichi Hashimoto, 2019. "Productivity Growth, Industry Location Patterns and Labor Market Frictions," ISER Discussion Paper 1052, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    16. Chu, Angus C. & Furukawa, Yuichi & Kou, Zonglai & Liu, Xueyue, 2019. "Effects of Minimum Wage on Import and Innovation: Theory and Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 97008, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; R&D; labor unions; wage inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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