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The Missing Link: Product Market Regulation, Collective Bargaining and the European Unemployment Puzzle


  • Christian Haefke
  • Monique Ebell


We examine product market regulation as an explanation for divergent US and continental European labor market performance. First, we show that the choice of bargaining regime is crucial for the effect of product market competition on unemployment rates, being substantial under collective and negligible under individual bargaining. Since the choice of bargaining institution is important, we endogenize it. When product market competition is low, collective bargaining emerges endogenously, while individual bargaining emerges under higher competition. In the calibrated model, we find that increasing entry costs from US to European levels causes equilibrium unemployment rates to increase from 5.5% to 8.3%. Our results also suggest that the strong decline in collective bargaining coverage and unionization in the US and UK over the last two decades might have been a direct consequence of the Reagen/Thatcher product market reforms of the early 80's

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Haefke & Monique Ebell, 2004. "The Missing Link: Product Market Regulation, Collective Bargaining and the European Unemployment Puzzle," 2004 Meeting Papers 759, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:759

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    Cited by:

    1. Lei Fang & Richard Rogerson, 2011. "Product Market Regulation and Market Work: A Benchmark Analysis," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 163-188, April.
    2. Aysegul Sahin & Bart Hobijn, 2008. "Wage Determination and Firm Size Dynamics," 2008 Meeting Papers 356, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Hervé Boulhol & Sabien Dobbelaere & Sara Maioli, 2011. "Imports as Product and Labour Market Discipline," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(2), pages 331-361, June.
    4. Zanetti, Francesco, 2009. "Effects of product and labor market regulation on macroeconomic outcomes," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 320-332, June.
    5. Messina, Julian, 2006. "The role of product market regulations in the process of structural change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1863-1890, October.
    6. Bart Hobijn & Ayşegül Şahin, 2013. "Firms And Flexibility," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 922-940, January.
    7. Fiori, Giuseppe & Nicoletti, Giuseppe & Scarpetta, Stefano & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2007. "Employment Outcomes and the Interaction Between Product and Labor Market Deregulation: Are They Substitutes or Complements?," IZA Discussion Papers 2770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Winfried Koeniger & Julien Prat, 2007. "Employment Protection, Product Market Regulation and Firm Selection," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 302-332, June.
    9. Helge Berger & Stephan Danninger, 2007. "The Employment Effects of Labor and Product Market Deregulation and Their Implications for Structural Reform," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(3), pages 591-619, July.

    More about this item


    Wage bargaining; European Unemployment Puzzle; product market competition; barriers to entry;

    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
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure

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