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"Ménage à trois" in a globalizing world: bargaining between firms, low-skilled and high-skilled workers

  • G. RAYP



This paper extends the assessment of the impact of globalization on the bargaining power of employees by taking worker heterogeneity into account. In contrast with previous studies, two separate unions - representing low-skilled and high-skilled workers respectively - are considered. Using Belgian firm-level data, labour bargaining power and relative wage preference have been estimated by skill level. Subsequently regressing these estimates on a set of potential determinants, the bargaining power of low-skilled workers appears to fall with imports and offshoring, whereas the bargaining power of high-skilled workers remains unaffected. In addition, a significant effect of globalization is found on the relative preference of unions for wages over employment, indicating that the effect of globalization on the behaviour of labour unions is more encompassing than frequently assumed. A positive impact of R&D intensity on the bargaining power of low-skilled workers is the only effect related to technological change that is found to be statistically significant.

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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 10/687.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:10/687
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  1. Nordström Skans, Oskar & Edin, Per-Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 2006. "Wage dispersion between and within plants: Sweden 1985-2000," Working Paper Series 2006:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Lourdes Moreno & Diego Rodríguez, 2011. "Markups, Bargaining Power and Offshoring: An Empirical Assessment-super-1," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(9), pages 1593-1627, 09.
  3. Filip Abraham & Jozef Konings & Stijn Vanormelingen, 2007. "The Effect of Globalization on Union Bargaining and Price-Cost Margins of Firms," LICOS Discussion Papers 18107, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
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