Margins, concentration, unions and the business cycle: Theory and evidence for Britain

Jonathan Haskel, Christopher Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A number of recent studies have examined the cyclical relationship between price-cost margins, concentration and unions. U.S. data has concluded that unions reduce margins; margins vary over the cycle; and concentration, unionisation and the cycle interact in their effect on margins. However, there is almost no theory to account for these results. We propose a simple theory that assumes only that there is overhead labour present at the firm. This produces theoretical predictions that can explain these results, and discriminate between existing theories. We present results of our own using U.K. panel data, and show similar findings to the U.S.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-632
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Organization
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Cite this