Sectoral bargaining and spillovers in monopsonistic labour markets

Grant Type: doctoral

Grant Year: 2021

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant description:

There is increasing evidence of monopsony power in labor markets, with implications of lower wages and higher inequality. One popular policy recommendation is to constrain such monopsony power through more organized unions of workers, such as in local bargaining councils—collections of trade unions and employers representing specific industry-regions that consultatively bargain over and set minimum wages and working conditions for those industry-regions. This project will study the effect of such “sectoral bargaining” using South African data. Using matched employer-employee tax data from the South African Revenue Service, Bassier will match these agreements to firms as demarcated by industry and location. There are currently 39 legally recognized bargaining councils in South Africa, each covering a specific industry-region. Bargaining councils are estimated to cover 40 percent of workers in the formal sector in South Africa, concentrated mainly in the manufacturing, construction, trade, and transport industries in addition to covering the public sector. This research could give insight into how sectoral bargaining could improve worker power and mitigate the effects of monopsonistic labor markets.

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