DP2812 Labour Market Efficiency, Wages and Employment when Search Frictions Interact with Intrafirm Bargaining

Author(s): Pierre Cahuc, Etienne Wasmer
Publication Date: May 2001
Keyword(s): Overemployment, Search, Wage bargaining
JEL(s): J30
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2812

In search of a macroeconomic theory of wage determination, the agnostic reader should be puzzled by the apparent contradiction between two influential theories. On one hand, in the standard search-matching theory with wage bargaining, hiring cost and constant returns of labour, the bargaining power of employees allows them to get rents and gives rise either to overemployment or to underemployment compared with the first best. On the other hand, in Stole and Zwiebel’s theory of intrafirm bargaining with no hiring cost and decreasing returns of labour, the bargaining power of employees does not allow them to get rent and always gives rise to overemployment. In this Paper, we try to reconcile these approaches. A simple matching model with large firms and diminishing marginal productivity of labour allows us to show that the two limit cases described above yield a mix of robust and non robust results: in the most general case, employees get rents and there is more frequently overemployment compared to the efficient allocation than in the standard search-matching model.