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Union Wage Strategies and International Trade


  • Naylor, Robin


In this paper, we analyze the relationship between wage outcomes and the nature of international trade and economic integration when labour markets are unionized and a homogeneous product market is characterized by intra-industry trade. We characterize the full set of possible trade regimes for different combinations of wages and derive unions' wage reaction functions. We show that a unions' choice between a high and a low-wage strategy will depend on the value of the trade costs. We find that: (i) compared to a non-union setting, unions reduce the prohibitive trade cost and that (ii) this rules out trade in that region of trade costs over which, in the non-union model. welfare falls as trade costs fall, (iii) in any trade equilibrium, falling trade costs lead monopoly unions to set higher wages, (iv) there is a range of trade costs for which equilibrium is non-existent and (v) the characterization of the union wage-setting as a Prisioners' Dilemma and hence the incentives for international union coordination of wage demands, depend upon the extent of trade costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Naylor, Robin, 1997. "Union Wage Strategies and International Trade," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 480, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:480

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    international trade ; tariffs ; economic integration ; wage determination ; union bargaining;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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