Econometrica: Mar 1984, Volume 52, Issue 2

Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargaining Approach<449:IAWITA>2.0.CO;2-2
p. 449-460

Paul A. Grout

The paper uses a generalized Nash bargain to analyze input levels, profits, and wages in the absence of binding contracts, and compares these with the conventional binding contracts model. It is shown that if the union has any power, investment is lower in the absence of binding contracts. The associated input levels and shareholders' profits are identical to those that emerge if contracts are binding and the firm acts as if it faces a cost of capital which is a linear combination of the purchase price of capital and the resale value. This implicit cost is greater than the purchase price, is an increasing function of union power, and is independent of the profit function and the alternative wage. Increases in union power reduce shareholders' profits but may increase wages at some points and decrease wages at others. In the absence of binding contracts, shareholders' profits are lower but there is a critical level of union power (depending on the profit function) such that the union is worse off if its power is higher than this level and better off if it is lower.

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