In the context of a two-period unionized mixed oligopoly we propose that – due to the public sector’s role in the market – public-private wage differentials in favour of the public sector employeesemerge over the business cycle, under either an asymmetric or a symmetric firing restrictions regime across the public and the private sector. Under the former regime firing costs are higher than (equal to) hiring costs in the public (private) sector, whilst under the latter regime firing/hiring costs are equal everywhere. The structure of the – product and labour market – equilibria, as well as the volume and the distribution of welfare, are however quite different under the two regimes. In contrast to conventional beliefs,the asymmetric – compared to the symmetric – regime entails higher aggregate output and employment over the business cycle.Moreover, a typical measure of social welfare dictates that the asymmetric regime should be sustained unless demand conditions significantly deteriorate during recession.
A Two-Period Unionized Mixed Oligopoly Model: Public-Private Wage Differentials and “Eurosclerosis” Reconsidered
In the present paper we develop a two-period unionized mixed duopoly model, furnished with second period- demand shocks, where decentralized firm-specific wage bargains are struck in each period before product market competition is in place.