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Competition, Work Rules and Productivity

  • Benjamin Bridgman

    (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

More competitive markets are associated with higher productivity. However, changes in competition complicate productivity measurement since changing mark-ups may shift factor shares. This paper examines productivity measurement in markets with market power and restrictive work rules: rules that induce wages to be paid for non-productive labor hours. It develops a theoretical model to explain why workers would want restrictive work rules and how competition leads to their reduction. I model a monopoly firm whose workers dictate wages and work rules. Work rules allow workers to maintain both high levels of employment and wages. Competition reduce work rules and increase productivity by lowering mark-ups. The theoretical findings are consistent with the empirical literature on the impact of increasing competitive pressure on productivity.

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File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2011/paper_289.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 289.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:289
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  1. Severin Borenstein & Joseph Farrell, 1999. "Do Investors Forecast Fat Firms? Evidence from the Gold Mining Industry," NBER Working Papers 7075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Berthold Herrendorf & Arilton Teixeira, . "Barriers to Entry and Development," Working Papers 2167726, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  3. Peter W. Wright & Paulo Bastos, 2012. "Exchange Rates and Wages in Unionized Labor Markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(4), pages 975-999, October.
  4. Bridgman, Benjamin R. & Livshits, Igor D. & MacGee, James C., 2007. "Vested interests and technology adoption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 649-666, April.
  5. Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2006. "Persistent Distortionary Policies with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 387-393, March.
  6. Bridgman, Benjamin & Gomes, Victor & Teixeira, Arilton, 2011. "Threatening to Increase Productivity: Evidence from Brazil's Oil Industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1372-1385, August.
  7. José E. Galdón-Sánchez & James A. Schmitz Jr., 2002. "Competitive Pressure and Labor Productivity: World Iron-Ore Markets in the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1222-1235, September.
  8. Timothy Dunne & Shawn Klimek & James Schmitz, Jr., 2010. "Competition and Productivity: Evidence from the Post WWII U.S. Cement Industry," Working Papers 10-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Helder Vasconcelos, 2005. "Tacit Collusion, Cost Asymmetries, and Mergers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 39-62, Spring.
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