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The Impact of Unions on Wages in Brazilian Manufacturing

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  • Jorge Saba Arbache

    ()

Abstract

The empirical literature on the impact of unions on wages has stressed two major conclusions. Firstly, unionised workers earn a wage premium when compared to comparable nonunionised workers. Secondly, the dispersion of wages within the union sector is lower than in the nonunion sector. We examine the validity of these findings in the context of a developing country labour market. Our results show that unionism does create a positive wage differential for male, semi-skilled workers with formal labour contracts in Brazilian manufacturing, and that, contrary to the common finding in the existing literature, wage dispersion is greater in the union sector. We show that these findings can be explained by the greater variance in the characteristics of unionised workers, the vulnerability of nonunionised workers to market conditions, and the structure of wage bargaining.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Saba Arbache, 1998. "The Impact of Unions on Wages in Brazilian Manufacturing," Studies in Economics 9805, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:9805
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
    2. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 75-96, Spring.
    3. Jorge Saba Arbache, 1997. "Wage Differentials in Brazilian Manufacturing," Studies in Economics 9705, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    4. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
    5. Farber, Henry S, 1978. "Individual Preferences and Union Wage Determination: The Case of the United Mine Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 923-942, October.
    6. Booth, Alison L, 1984. "A Public Choice Model of Trade Union Behaviour and Membership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 883-898, December.
    7. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    8. Rowthorn, R E, 1992. "Centralisation, Employment and Wage Dispersion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(412), pages 506-523, May.
    9. Stewart, Mark B, 1990. "Union Wage Differentials, Product Market Influences and the Division of Rents," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1122-1137, December.
    10. Kahn, Lawrence M & Curme, Michael, 1987. "Unions and Nonunion Wage Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 600-607, November.
    11. Teal, Francis, 1996. "The Size and sources of economic rents in a developing country manufacturing labour market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 963-976, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Union power; union wage differential; wage dispersion; Brazil;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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