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Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Declining Union Organization

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  • Henry S. Farber
  • Bruce Western
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    Abstract

    New union members in the United States are typically gained through workplace elections. We find that the annual number of union elections fell by 50 per cent in the early 1980s. A formal model indicates that declining union election activity may be due to an unfavourable political climate which raises the costs of unionization, even though the union win-rate remains unaffected. We relate the timing of declining election activity to the air-traffic controllers' strike of 1981, and the appointment of the Reagan Labor Board in 1983. Empirical analysis shows that the fall in election activity preceded these developments. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd/London School of Economics 2002.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 3 (09)
    Pages: 385-401

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:40:y:2002:i:3:p:385-401

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    Cited by:
    1. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "The Effects of Technical Change on Labor Market Inequalities," Working Papers 89, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    2. A Charlwood, 2003. "The Anatomy of Union Decline in Britain: 1990-1998," CEP Discussion Papers dp0601, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Jack Fiorito & Paul Jarley, 2012. "Union Organizing and Membership Growth: Why Don’t They Organize?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 461-486, December.
    4. Henry S. Farber, 2009. "Rational Choice and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Union Representation Elections," Working Papers 1200, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    5. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & P Willman, 2003. "Why Do Voice Regimes Differ?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0591, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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