January 2003

IZA DP No. 701: Earnings-Related Unemployment Benefits in a Unionised Economy

published in: Economic Systems, 2003, 27 (1), 41-62

We show that a stronger earnings relationship of unemployment compensation reduces wages and increases employment in an economy in which wages are determined by a trade union that maximises the rent from unionisation. The opposite result applies for a utilitarian union. Using manufacturing and non-manufacturing data for 16 OECD countries, estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the earnings relationship is associated with a 1.9% fall in manufacturing wages, a 0.6% reduction in non-manufacturing wages and a 7.3% reduction in unemployment.