IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/zeiwps/b261999.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Skills, labour costs and vertically differentiated industries: A general equilibrium analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Lutz, Stefan
  • Turrini, Alessandro

Abstract

The effect of labour costs on industry profits, employment and labour income is at the heart of the current European debate on industry competitiveness. High wages paid in European countries such as Germany are generally considered harmful for industry profitability. Though, high wages appear also to be associated with high labour skills and then with superior product quality. Similarly, a reduction in labour taxes is often invoked as a tool to improve industry profitability, but this argument hardly takes into account the demand effects of such a tax reform. In this paper we analyse the trade-off between labour costs and industry profits by means of a simple general equilibrium model where one industry is oligopolistic and vertically differentiated. The manufacturing of products of a higher quality requires the employment of a larger amount of skilled labour. Given an underlying skills distribution, the model determines profits, wages and aggregate income and welfare. Results show that high net wages due to a low skills endowment in the economy are typically associated with low profits. Labour taxation unambiguously raises gross wages, but has little effect on net wages. Depending on how the tax revenue is redistributed, higher taxation may either depress or boost industry profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutz, Stefan & Turrini, Alessandro, 1999. "Skills, labour costs and vertically differentiated industries: A general equilibrium analysis," ZEI Working Papers B 26-1999, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeiwps:b261999
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/39503/1/309765897.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jaskold Gabszewicz, Jean & Vial, Jean-Philippe, 1972. "Oligopoly "A la cournot" in a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 381-400, June.
    2. Gabszewicz, J. & Turrini, A., 2000. "Workers' skills, product quality and industry equilibrium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 575-593, May.
    3. A. Daly & D.M.W.N. Hitchens & K. Wagner, 1985. "Productivity, Machinery and Skills in a Sample of British and German Manufacturing Plants," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 111(1), pages 48-61, February.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "Quality and trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-15, June.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30722111 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-131, June.
    7. Lionel Fontagné & Michaël Freudenberg & Deniz Ünal, 1995. "Régionalisation et échanges de biens intermédiaires," Working Papers 1995-11, CEPII research center.
    8. Courakis, Anthony S, 1991. "Labour Skills and Human Capital in the Explanation of Trade Patterns," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 443-462, July.
    9. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    10. H. Lutz, Stefan, 2000. "Trade Effects of Minimum Quality Standards with and without Deterred Entry," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 15, pages 314-344.
    11. Takashi Negishi, 1961. "Monopolistic Competition and General Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 196-201.
    12. d’ASPREMONT, Cl. & DOS SANTOS FERREIRA, R. & GERARD-VARET, L.-A., 1988. "Unemployment in a Cournot oligopoly model with Ford effects," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 1988018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    13. Katsoulacos, Y., 1984. "Product innovation and employment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 83-108.
    14. Copeland, Brian R. & Kotwal, Ashok, 1996. "Product quality and the theory of comparative advantage," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1745-1760, December.
    15. Lionel Fontagné & Michaël Freudenberg & Nicolas Peridy, 1997. "Trade Patterns Inside the Single Market," Working Papers 1997-07, CEPII research center.
    16. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
    17. repec:sae:niesru:v:111:y::i:1:p:48-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1983. "Natural Oligopolies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1469-1483, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Lutz, Stefan & Turrini, Alessandro, 2006. "A general equilibrium model with vertically differentiated industries, skilled labour and trade," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-19, January.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Lutz, Stefan & Turrini, Alessandro, 2006. "A general equilibrium model with vertically differentiated industries, skilled labour and trade," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-19, January.
    2. Gabszewicz, J. & Turrini, A., 2000. "Workers' skills, product quality and industry equilibrium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 575-593, May.
    3. Jinji, Naoto & Toshimitsu, Tsuyoshi, 2013. "Strategic R&D policy in a quality-differentiated industry with three exporting countries," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 132-142.
    4. Alessandro Turrini, 2000. "High-quality bias in vertically differentiated oligopolies—a note on skills, trade, and welfare," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 71(2), pages 133-147, June.
    5. Banerji, Arup & Jain, Sanjay, 2007. "Quality dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 234-250, September.
    6. Bhattacharyya, Ranajoy & Saha, Bibhas, 2011. "Wage bargaining and quality competition," MPRA Paper 30968, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Cellini, Roberto & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2018. "A dynamic model of quality competition with endogenous prices," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 190-206.
    8. Ngo Van Long & Zhuang Miao, 2020. "Multiple‐quality Cournot oligopoly and the role of market size," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 932-952, October.
    9. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2010. "Price and quality in spatial competition," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 471-480, November.
    10. Bae, Sang Hoo & Sarkis, Joseph & Yoo, Chung Sik, 2011. "Greening transportation fleets: Insights from a two-stage game theoretic model," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 793-807.
    11. Jean Gabszewicz & Alessandro Turrini, 1999. "Workers' Skills and Product Selection," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 50(3), pages 383-391.
    12. Auer, Raphael A. & Sauré, Philip, 2017. "Dynamic entry in vertically differentiated markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 177-205.
    13. Stefan Lutz & Mario Pezzino, 2012. "International Strategic Choice of Minimum Quality Standards and Welfare," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 594-613, July.
    14. Andrew Metrick & Richard Zeckhauser, 1996. "Price Versus Quanitity: Market Cleaning Mechanisms When Sellers Differ in Quality," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1775, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    15. Wu, Xiaodong, 2001. "Foreign direct investment, intellectual property rights, and wage inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 361-384.
    16. Yong-Hwan Noh & Giancarlo Moschini, 2006. "Vertical Product Differentiation, Entry-Deterrence Strategies, and Entry Qualities," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 29(3), pages 227-252, November.
    17. Luca Lambertini & Piero Tedeschi, 2007. "On the Social Desirability of Patents for Sequential Innovations in a Vertically Differentiated Market," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 90(2), pages 193-214, March.
    18. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1996. "Product line competition in vertically differentiated markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 389-414, May.
    19. Zhou, Dongsheng & Spencer, Barbara J. & Vertinsky, Ilan, 2002. "Strategic trade policy with endogenous choice of quality and asymmetric costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 205-232, January.
    20. Dimitra Petropoulou, 2013. "Vertical product differentiation, minimum quality standards, and international trade," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 372-393, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vertical intra-industry trade; Quality differentiation; skills; productivity; labour cost;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:zeiwps:b261999. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zeibnde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zeibnde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.