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Endogenous distortions in product and labor markets

  • Rama, Martin
  • Tabellini, Guido

The authors use the common agency approach to analyze the joint determination of product and labor market distortions in a small (developing) open economy. Capital owners and union members lobby the government on tariffs and minimum wages, while factors of production in agriculture (the informal sector) are not organized. The government cares about social welfare, but also values the contributions (monetary or else) made by organized groups. The authors show that product and labor market distortions move in the same direction in response to changes in the relevant economic and political parameters, and that the level of those distortions is not modified by social pacts between capital and labor. They also show that conditionality by foreign agencies should target product market distortions, not labor market distortions. Labor market distortions ought not to be targeted because they are second best: they are the optimal response to the product market distortions. Labor market distortions are likely to adjust in the desired direction once product market distortions are removed or diminished.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1413.

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Date of creation: 31 Jan 1995
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1413
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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  2. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Common Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 923-42, July.
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