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Title: Bargaining over surplus : oligopolies, workers and the distribution of income
Author: Dowrick, Steve
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 7928
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1986
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The thesis examines the interaction of labour and product markets in determining Income distribution. It presents evidence on a marked shift in the distribution of income in the UK, in the early 1980s, towards profits and away from manual earnings, a shift which is attributed in part to a secular rise in manufacturing price-cost margins contemporaneous with a massive Increase in unemployment. Evidence that labour strength affects real wages and income distribution is contrasted with apparently contradictory theory and evidence of oligopolistic employers' ability to determine profit margins constrained only by product market conditions. Oligopoly theory is examined along with an analysis of Stackelberg and Cournot duopoly. Results are derived illuminating the links between product market and labour market conditions on the one hand and Income distribution on the other. In particular it is shown that employers will generally prefer not to bargain over employment levels; but if they do bargain over jobs, then price-cost margins will be directly affected by workers' bargaining strength. An empirical study examines the effect of labour strength on price-cost margins in UK manufacturing industry. The analysis uses cross- section regressions for the years 1975, 1979 and 1982. Qualified support is found for the hypothesis that workers and employers do bargain over employment. There is also some econometric evidence that unemployment has undermined the bargaining position of manual workers. Taken together, these studies imply that unemployment has played an important role in shifting the distribution of income In the UK In the early 1980s. A further empirical study examines changes in import levels and manufacturing margins between 1979 and 1982. While single equation estimates appear to show that Import penetration reduces domestic margins, simultaneous estimation shows no competitive impact of imports.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor