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Why do capital intensive companies pay higher wages?

Author

Listed:
  • Matti Virén

    (Bank of Finland)

Abstract

An obvious answer to this question is the capital-skill complementarity hypothesis originally proposed by Zwi Griliches (1969). But the relatively poor performance of this hypothesis suggests that other explanations are needed. Here we consider the labour union behaviour in the wage bargaining process as such an alternative. The explanation is based on the observation that capital intensive companies are more vulnerable to strike threats and may thus more easily give in for union wage demand. Thus, the bargaining power of unions is related to the capital-labour ratio. This paper provides some tests for these hypotheses with panel data for Finnish companies. The results give support to the wage bargaining hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Matti Virén, 2005. "Why do capital intensive companies pay higher wages?," Labor and Demography 0508014, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0508014
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 27. Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 5/2005
    as

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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/lab/papers/0508/0508014.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bentolila Samuel & Saint-Paul Gilles, 2003. "Explaining Movements in the Labor Share," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-33, October.
    2. Graziella Bertocchi, 2003. "Labor Market Institutions, International Capital Mobility, and the Persistence of Underdevelopment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 637-650, July.
    3. repec:lsu:lsuwpp:2003-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Konings, Jozef & Walsh, Patrick P, 1994. "Evidence of Efficiency Wage Payments in UK Firm Level Panel Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 542-555, May.
    5. John Duffy & Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 327-344, February.
    6. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    7. Devereux, Michael B. & Lockwood, Ben, 1991. "Trade unions, non-binding wage agreements, and capital accumulation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1411-1426, October.
    8. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-468, November.
    9. Surendra Gera & Gilles Grenier, 1994. "Interindustry Wage Differentials and Efficiency Wages: Some Canadian Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 81-100, February.
    10. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wages; bargaining; wage distribution; panel data;

    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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