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Labour market power and the distorting effects of international trade

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  • Mertens, Matthias

Abstract

This article examines how trade shocks shape labour market imperfections that create market power in labour markets and prevent an efficient allocation of labour. I develop a framework for measuring such labor market distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of those distortions in Germany's manufacturing sector. Import competition can only exert labor market disciplining effects when firms rather than workers have labour market power. Otherwise, export demand and import competition shocks tend to fortify existing distortions by amplifying labour market power structures. This diminishes the gains from trade compared to a model with perfectly competitive labour markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Mertens, Matthias, 2019. "Labour market power and the distorting effects of international trade," IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers 2/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhcom:22019
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    Cited by:

    1. Mertens, Matthias & Müller, Steffen, 2020. "The East-West German gap in revenue productivity: Just a tale of output prices?," IWH Discussion Papers 14/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    2. Mertens, Matthias, 2021. "Labour market power and between-firm wage (in)equality," IWH Discussion Papers 13/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    3. Caselli, Mauro & Nesta, Lionel & Schiavo, Stefano, 2021. "Imports and labour market imperfections: Firm-level evidence from France," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    4. Mertens, Matthias, 2022. "Micro-mechanisms behind declining labor shares: Rising market power and changing modes of production," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    5. van Heuvelen, Gerrit Hugo & Bettendorf, Leon & Meijerink, Gerdien, 2021. "Markups in a dual labour market: The case of the Netherlands," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    6. Philipp Meinen & Ana Cristina Soares, 2022. "Markups and Financial Shocks [‘Securities trading by banks and credit supply: Micro-evidence from the crisis’]," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(647), pages 2471-2499.
    7. Mauro Caselli & Jasmine Mondolo & Stefano Schiavo, 2021. "Labour Market Power and the Quest for an Optimal Minimum Wage: Evidence from Italy," EconPol Working Paper 70, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. Mertens, Matthias, 2019. "Micro-mechanisms behind declining labour shares: Market power, production processes, and global competition," IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers 3/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    9. Bighelli, Tommaso & Di Mauro, Filippo & Melitz, Marc J. & Mertens, Matthias, 2021. "European firm concentration and aggregate productivity," IWH Discussion Papers 5/2021, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    10. Jasmine Mondolo, 2022. "Product and labour market imperfections in the Italian manufacturing sector: a firm-level analysis," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 39(3), pages 813-838, October.
    11. Mertens, Matthias & Mueller, Steffen, 2022. "The East-West German gap in revenue productivity:Just a tale of output prices?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 815-831.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international trade; market power; labor markets; allocative efficiency;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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