Lifting the Curse of Dimensionality: Measures of the Labor Legislation Climate in the States During the Progressive Era
AbstractOne of the most difficult problems in the social sciences is measuring the policy climate in societies. Prior to the 1930s the vast majority of labor regulations in the U.S. were enacted at the state level. In this paper we develop several summary measures of labor regulation that document the changes in labor regulation across states and over time during the Progressive Era. The measures include an Employer-Share-Weighted Index (ESWI) that weights regulations by the share of workers affected and builds up the overall index from 17 categories of regulation; the number of pages of laws; appropriations for spending on labor issues per worker; and two nonparametric COORDINATES that summarize locations in a policy space. We describe the pluses and minuses of the measures, how strongly they are correlated, and show the stories that they tell about the changes in labor regulation during the progressive era. We then provide preliminary evidence on the extent to which the labor regulation measures are associated with political and economic correlates identified as important in histories of industrial relations and labor markets.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14167.
Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
- K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
- N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
- N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-07-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2008-07-14 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-HIS-2008-07-14 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-LAB-2008-07-14 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LAW-2008-07-14 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-POL-2008-07-14 (Positive Political Economics)
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