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Organized Labour and R&D: Evidence from Italy

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  • Cetrulo, Armanda
  • Cirillo, Valeria
  • Landini, Fabio

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of firm-level collective bargaining on firms' investment in intangible assets and, specifically R&D. While standard hold-up theories predict a negative effect of organized labour on intangible investments, the inclusion of pay-for-performance schemes in complementary negotiation can actually invert the prediction. Moreover, the industrial relation literature suggests that, in presence of asymmetric power relations, firm-level collective bargaining can allow workers to make their voice heard and induce management to invest in assets that drive competition away from wages, including R&D. We exploit a rich and representative survey on Italian non-agricultural companies conducted by the National Institute for the Analysis of Public Policies (INAPP) to test these predictions. Baseline estimates suggest that the presence of second-level collective bargaining is associated with higher investments in R&D and that power relation is the main mechanism driving this result. These findings are confirmed also in a robustness check where we exploit size contingent legislation governing the creation of employee representative bodies involved in firm-level bargaining in a regression discontinuity design (RDD) framework. The implications for the design of innovation policy are discussed.

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  • Cetrulo, Armanda & Cirillo, Valeria & Landini, Fabio, 2022. "Organized Labour and R&D: Evidence from Italy," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1195, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:1195
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D; Intangibles; Unions; Collective Bargaining; Complementary Negotiation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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