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Operations of "Unfettered" Labor Markets: Exit and Voice in American Labor Markets at the Turn of the Century

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  • Price V. Fishback

Abstract

The American economy at the turn of the century offers an excellent opportunity to study relatively unregulated labor markets. This essay discusses the operation of labor markets in the early 1900s. After examining the mobility of workers, the integration of geographically dispersed labor markets, and a case study of the extent of employer monopsony, we examine the extent to which workers received compensating differentials for workplace disamenities and the extent to which competition among employers reduced discrimination. During this period, institutions like the company town, company union, and share cropping developed. These institutions are reexamined to determine the extent to which they were exploitative or helped resolve problems with transactions costs. Finally, reformers pressed for workers' compensation and laws regulating women's hours, child labor, and workplace safety. We examine the impact of progressive legislation and discuss the political economy of its passage.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 36 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 722-765

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:36:y:1998:i:2:p:722-765

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Cited by:
  1. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan Deardorff & Robert Stern, 2004. "The Effects of Multinational Production on Wages and Working Conditions in Developing Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 279-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Susan Averett & Howard Bodenhorn & Justas Staisiunas, 2003. "Unemployment Risk and Compensating Differential in Late-Nineteenth Century New Jersey Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 9977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Donado, Alejandro & Wälde, Klaus, 2010. "How trade unions increase welfare," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 83, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
  4. Ragui Assaad & Insan Tunali, 2000. "Wage Formation and Recurrent Unemployment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1623, Econometric Society.
  5. Alston, Lee J. & Dupre, Ruth & Nonnenmacher, Tomas, 2002. "Social reformers and regulation: the prohibition of cigarettes in the United States and Canada," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 425-445, October.
  6. Addison, John T., 2006. "Politico-Economic Causes of Labor Regulation in the United States: Rent Seeking, Alliances, Raising Rivals' Costs (Even Lowering One's Own?), and Interjurisdictional Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 2381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Price V. Fishback & Rebecca Holmes & Samuel Allen, 2008. "Lifting the Curse of Dimensionality: Measures of the Labor Legislation Climate in the States During the Progressive Era," NBER Working Papers 14167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Josefa Ramoni Perazzi, 2007. "The compensating differential principle in the public and private sector: A multivariate statistical analysis approach," Economía, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales (IIES). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales. Universidad de Los Andes. Mérida, Venezuela, vol. 32(24), pages 95-112, july-dece.
  9. Joshua L. Rosenbloom & William A. Sundstrom, 2009. "Labor-Market Regimes in U.S. Economic History," NBER Working Papers 15055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael Huberman & Chris Minns, 2005. "Hours of Work in Old and New Worlds: The Long View, 1870-2000," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp95, IIIS.
  11. Roland Vaubel, 2008. "The political economy of labor market regulation by the European Union," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 435-465, December.
  12. Murray, John E. & Nilsson, Lars, 2007. "Accident risk compensation in late imperial Austria: Wage differentials and social insurance," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 568-587, October.
  13. Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 2000. "Should I Stay or Can I Go? Worker Attachment in Russia," Working Papers w0008, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  14. Robert S. Chase, 2001. "Labor Market Discrimination During Post-Communist Transition: A Monopsony Approach to the Status of Latvia's Russian Minority," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 381, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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