Centralised Labour Market Negotiations

Julia Müller
University of Muenster – School of Business & Economics

Thorsten Upmann
Bielefeld University – Department of Business Administration and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

November 25, 2013

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4470


This paper contributes to the analysis of central vs. decentral (firm-level) labour market negotiations. We argue that during negotiations on a central scale employers and employees plausibly take output market effects into account, while they behave competitively during firm-level negotiations. Assuming that in both cases the labour market conflict is settled efficiently according to the familiar Nash bargaining solution, we show that central negotiations lead to a lower employment level but to a higher wage rate, when compared with local labour market bargains. While this is an important theoretical result in its own, it has important effects for both empirical labour market research and labour market policies. Also, this result counters the critique that efficient negotiations result in employment levels exceeding the competitive level.

Centralised Labour Market Negotiations

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