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The Effect of unions on wage inequality in the U.S. labor market

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Author Info

  • David Card

Abstract

This study uses Current Population Survey micro data for 1973-74 and 1993 to evaluate the effect of changing union membership on trends in male and female wage inequality. Unionization rates of men fell between the two sample periods, with bigger declines among lower skill groups. These trends account for 15-20% of the rise in male wage inequality. Union membership rates of low-wage women also declined, while unionization increased among higher-wage women. On balance, shifting unionization accounts for very little of the rise in female wage inequality. Economy-wide trends in unionization mask a sharp divergence between the private sector, where unionism was declining, and the public sector, where it was rising. Comparisons across sectors suggest that unionization substantially slowed the growth in wage inequality in the public sector. (Author's abstract.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 54 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 296-315

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:54:y:2001:i:2:p:296-315

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Cited by:
  1. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Sommerfeld, Katrin, 2010. "Rising wage inequality, the decline of collective bargaining, and the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 835-847, October.
  2. Wolff, Edward N., 2009. "Are computers driving real wages down?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 211-228, August.
  3. Gaetano Martino & Cristiano Perugini, 2008. "Income inequality within European regions: determinants and effects on growth," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 52/2008, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  4. Töngür, Ünal & Elveren, Adem Yavuz, 2014. "Deunionization and pay inequality in OECD Countries: A panel Granger causality approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 417-425.
  5. Rafal Kierzenkowski & Isabell Koske, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 8. The Drivers of Labour Income Inequality – A Literature Review," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 931, OECD Publishing.
  6. Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2010. "The effects of offshoring on the elasticity of labor demand," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 89-98, May.
  7. Panos, Georgios & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2010. "Unionism and Peer-Referencing," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2010-03, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  8. Blackburn, McKinley L., 2007. "Estimating wage differentials without logarithms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 73-98, January.

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