The rise and fall of centralized wage bargaining

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3 Scopus citations


During the three decades spanning the early 1950s to the early 1980s, the wage-setting process in most Northern European countries was dominated by centralized bargaining (i.e., peak-level labor and employer associations set wages nationwide). In the early 1980s, centralized wage bargaining began to collapse. In this paper, we assess a novel explanation for both the initial establishment of a centralized wage-setting process, and its subsequent collapse. According to our theory, centralized wage bargaining was set up as a response to the spillovers created by the unemployment benefit program. Its collapse was the result of the increase in the productivity gap across workers, brought about by equipment-specific technological progress and equipment-skill complementarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-855
Number of pages31
JournalScandinavian Journal of Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Equipment-skill complementarity
  • Equipment-specific technological progress
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Wage-bargaining arrangements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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