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Testing for Employer Monopsony in Turn-of-the-Century Coal Mining

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  • William M. Boal
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    Abstract

    Isolated company towns are often cited as likely examples of labor monopsony. This article tests for monopsony power by estimating inverse labor supply elasticities using a county-level panel dataset on nonunion West Virginia coal mining from 1897 to 1932. The model specification incorporates dynamics in such a way that an estimate of the gap between marginal revenue product and the wage can easily be computed as a weighted average of short- and long-run inverse elasticities. Modest estimated short-run inverse elasticities and very small long-run inverse elasticities imply that coal operators enjoyed little, if any, monopsony power over their workers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 26 (1995)
    Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
    Pages: 519-536

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    Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:26:y:1995:i:autumn:p:519-536

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    Cited by:
    1. Sabien DOBBELAERE & KIYOTA Kozo & Jacques MAIRESSE, 2012. "Product and Labor Market Imperfections and Scale Economies: Micro-evidence on France, Japan and the Netherlands," Discussion papers 12020, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Depew, Briggs & Sørensen, Todd A., 2013. "The elasticity of labor supply to the firm over the business cycle," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 196-204.
    3. Sabien Dobbelaere & Jacques Mairesse, 2009. "Panel Data Estimates of the Production Function and Product and Labor Market Imperfections," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-001/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Wojan, Timothy R. & Lackey, Steven Brent, 2000. "Manufacturing Specialization in the Southeast: Rural Necessity, Rural Possibility, or Rural Vestige?," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 30(2), pages 167-187, Fall.
    5. Giovanni Sulis, 2011. "What can monopsony explain of the gender wage differential in Italy?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 446-470, July.
    6. Sabien Dobbelaere & Kozo Kiyota & Jacques Mairesse, 2013. "Product and Labor Market Imperfections and Scale Economies: Micro-Evidence on France, Japan and the Netherlands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-037/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Hernán Vallejo G, 2005. "A Generalized Index Of Market Power," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 001916, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    8. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.

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