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The Welfare and Employment Effects of Centralized Public Sector Wage Bargaining

Journal of Public Economic Theory

Published online on


In many countries, the government pays almost identical nominal wages to workers living in regions with notable economic disparities. By developing a two‐region general equilibrium model with endogenous migration and search frictions in the labor market, I study the differences in terms of unemployment, real wages, and welfare between a regional wage bargaining process and a national one in the public sector. Adopting the latter makes residents in the poorer region better off and residents of the richer region worse off. Private sector employment decreases in the poorer region and it increases in the richer one. Under some conditions, the unemployment rate in the poorer region soars.