Contracts, Markets, and Laws in the US and Japan
Edited by Zenichi Shishido
Chapter 3: The relative bargaining power of employers and unions in the global information age: a comparative analysis of the United States and Japan
Although implicit or explicit bargaining is a common means for resolving differences among the various stakeholders of the modern corporation, perhaps the quintessential expression of this phenomenon is collective bargaining between representatives of employees and management over the terms and conditions of employment. The resolution of disputes through private bargaining has the great benefit of being a decentralized method of problem solving in which the parties who are directly affected by the problem, and know the most about it, determine the solution. Although bargaining solutions are undoubtedly influenced by information and the parties’ conceptions of “fairness,” bargaining is not a detached inquiry into either “truth” or “justice.” Instead, the determination of issues through bargaining is largely determined by the relative “bar gaining power” of the two parties, or their ability to force the other side to accept an agreement on their terms. Law can influence the relative bargaining power of labor and management.
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