Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Effect of Unions on Productivity: U.S. Surface Mining of Coal


Author Info

  • Patricia Byrnes

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514)

  • Rolf Färe

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514)

  • Shawna Grosskopf

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514)

  • C. A. Knox Lovell

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514)


The purpose of this paper is to compare the abilities of two competing analytical techniques---mathematical programming and statistical regression---to shed light on the union/nonunion productivity differential in U.S. surface coal mining. The programming approach has the virtues of being nonparametric (and thus extremely flexible) and of being able to provide a decomposition of productivity differentials into three components---differences in technical efficiency, differences in scale efficiency, and differences in congestion. Identification of these three components provides an aid to management in its search for the sources of, and remedies for, productivity gaps. The econometric approach, on the other hand, is neither flexible nor does it provide such a decomposition; its chief virtue lies in the fact that, being stochastic, it allows for the presence of noise and measurement error that plagues most if not all empirical data. Thus, the two approaches have complementary virtues. The two techniques are used to investigate productivity in two samples of U.S. surface coal mines. The programming approach finds a large and significant positive union/nonunion productivity differential. This differential is due primarily to greater congestion occurring in the smaller nonunion mines in one sample, and to scale inefficiency in the smaller nonunion mines in the other sample. The econometric analysis finds nearly the same union/nonunion productivity differential, but sheds no light on the composition of, and thus the cure for, the differential.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 34 (1988)
Issue (Month): 9 (September)
Pages: 1037-1053

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:34:y:1988:i:9:p:1037-1053

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
Phone: +1-443-757-3500
Fax: 443-757-3515
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: efficiency; mathematical programming; statistical estimation; unionization;


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Kao, Chiang, 2010. "Congestion measurement and elimination under the framework of data envelopment analysis," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 257-265, February.
  2. Zanakis, Stelios H. & Mandakovic, Tomislav & Gupta, Sushil K. & Sahay, Sundeep & Hong, Sungwan, 1995. "A review of program evaluation and fund allocation methods within the service and government sectors," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 59-79, March.
  3. Homburg, Carsten, 2001. "Using data envelopment analysis to benchmark activities," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 51-58, August.
  4. Simar, Leopold & Wilson, Paul W., 2007. "Estimation and inference in two-stage, semi-parametric models of production processes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 31-64, January.
  5. Tsolas, Ioannis E., 2011. "Performance assessment of mining operations using nonparametric production analysis: A bootstrapping approach in DEA," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 159-167, June.
  6. Fang, Hong & Wu, Junjie & Zeng, Catherine, 2009. "Comparative study on efficiency performance of listed coal mining companies in China and the US," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5140-5148, December.
  7. Dervaux, Benoît & Kerstens, Kristiaan & Vanden Eeckaut, Philippe, 1998. "Radial and nonradial static efficiency decompositions: a focus on congestion measurement," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 299-312, June.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:34:y:1988:i:9:p:1037-1053. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.