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Labour market power and between-firm wage (in)equality

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  • Mertens, Matthias

Abstract

I study how labour market power affects firm wage differences using German manufacturing sector firm-level data (1995-2016). In past decades, labour market power increasingly moderated rising between-firm wage inequality. This is because high-paying firms possess high and increasing labour market power and pay wages below competitive levels, whereas low-wage firms pay competitive wages. Over time, large, high-wage, high-productivity firms generate increasingly large labour market rents while selling on competitive product markets. This provides novel insights on why such "superstar firms" are profitable and successful. Using micro-aggregated data covering most economic sectors, I validate my results for ten other European countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Mertens, Matthias, 2021. "Labour market power and between-firm wage (in)equality," IWH Discussion Papers 13/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:132020
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    Cited by:

    1. Ziesemer, Thomas, 2021. "Labour-augmenting technical change data for alternative elasticities of substitution, growth, slowdown, and distribution dynamics," MERIT Working Papers 2021-003, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Filippo Passerini, 2022. "Monopsony in labor markets: Empirical evidence from Italian firms," French Stata Users' Group Meetings 2022 24, Stata Users Group.
    3. 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).
    4. 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).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; labour market power; monopsony; rent-sharing; superstar firms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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