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Economic Quarterly

Third Quarter 2013

Does Intra-Firm Bargaining Matter for Business Cycle Dynamics?

Michael U. Krause and Thomas A. Lubik

We analyze the implications of intra-firm bargaining for business cycle dynamics in models with large firms and search frictions. Intra-firm bargaining implies a feedback from the marginal revenue product to wage setting, which leads firms to over-hire in order to reduce workers' bargaining position within the firm. The keys to this effect are decreasing returns and/or downward-sloping demand. We show that equilibrium wages and employment are higher in steady state compared with a bargaining framework in which firms neglect this feedback effect. However, the effects of intra-firm bargaining on aggregate adjustment dynamics, volatility, and co-movement are negligible.

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