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Wage Dispersion in a Partially Unionized Labor Force

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  • John T. Addison

    (University of South Carolina (U.S.A.), GEMF (Portugal), and IZA)

  • Ralph W. Bailey

    (University of Birmingham (U.K.))

  • W. Stanley Siebert

    (University of Birmingham (U.K.) and IZA)

Abstract

Wage Dispersion in a Partially Unionized Labor Force This paper critiques Card’s (2001) method for analyzing wage dispersion in a partially unionized labor market based on a disaggregation of the population into skill categories. We argue that disaggregation is a good idea, the use of skill categories less so. We offer a modified model in which each worker is assigned a union-membership probability, a predicted union wage, and a predicted nonunion wage. Our model provides a natural three-way decomposition of variance, and is also suited to counterfactual analysis. By way of an application, we examine the effect of de-unionization on wage dispersion in the United Kingdom between 1983 and 1995, reporting that the decline in membership accounts for only about one-fifth of the observed increase in wage dispersion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra in its series GEMF Working Papers with number 2009-09.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gmf:wpaper:2009-09

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Keywords: wage dispersion; three-way variance decomposition; bivariate kernel density smoothing; union membership; deunionization.;

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  1. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "Unionism and the dispersion of wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 3-23, October.
  3. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
  4. Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "What Do Unions Do?-- The 2004 M-Brane Stringtwister Edition," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 26(4), pages 641-668, November.
  5. Amanda Gosling & Thomas Lemieux, 2004. "Labor Market Reforms and Changes in Wage Inequality in the United Kingdom and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 275-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Addison, John T. & Bailey, Ralph & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2003. "The Impact of Deunionisation on Earnings Dispersion Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Machin, Stephen, 1997. "The decline of labour market institutions and the rise in wage inequality in Britain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 647-657, April.
  8. Bell, Brian D & Pitt, Michael K, 1998. "Trade Union Decline and the Distribution of Wages in the UK: Evidence from Kernel Density Estimation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(4), pages 509-28, November.
  9. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
  10. Checchi, Daniele & Visser, Jelle & van de Werfhorst, Herman G., 2007. "Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 2691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Juan Francisco Canal Domínguez & César Rodríguez Gutiérrez, 2004. "Collective Bargaining and Within-firm Wage Dispersion in Spain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 481-506, 09.
  12. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
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