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Strikes and Wages: A Test of a Signalling Model

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  • David Card

Abstract

This paper describes a simple model of labor disputes based on the hypothesis that unions use strikes to infer the level of profitability of the firm. The implications of the model are then tested using data on wage outcomes, strike probabilities, and strike durations for a large sample of collective bargaining agreements. Negotiated wages are found to depend negatively on regional unemployment rates and positively on industry-specific selling prices. Contrary to the basic premise of the model, however, there is no evidence of a systematic relation between wages and strike outcomes. Increases in unemployment are found to decrease the probability of strikes, while increases in industry selling prices increase the probability of disputes. Strike durations are only weakly related to unemployment and industry prices, but are negatively correlated with industry output.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2550.

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Date of creation: Mar 1988
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2550

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References

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  1. Gunderson, Morley & Kervin, John & Reid, Frank, 1986. "Logit Estimates of Strike Incidence from Canadian Contract Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 257-76, April.
  2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1983. "Sequential Bargaining with Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 221-47, April.
  3. Jones, Stephen R G, 1988. "The Relationship between Unemployment Spells and Reservation Wages as a Test of Search Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 741-65, November.
  4. Sheena McConnell, 1987. "Cyclical Fluctuations in Strike Activity," Working Papers 595, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Riddell, William Craig, 1979. "The Empirical Foundations of the Phillips Curve: Evidence from Canadian Wage Contract Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 1-24, January.
  6. Christofides, Louis N & Swidinsky, Robert & Wilton, David A, 1980. "A Microeconometric Analysis of Spillovers within the Canadian Wage Determination Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 213-21, May.
  7. Ausubel, Lawrence M. & Cramton, Peter & Deneckere, Raymond J., 2002. "Bargaining with incomplete information," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 1897-1945 Elsevier.
  8. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  9. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1988. "Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1371-95, November.
  10. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
  11. repec:fth:prinin:215 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cramton, Peter C & Tracy, Joseph S, 1992. "Strikes and Holdouts in Wage Bargaining: Theory and Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 100-121, March.
  2. repec:fth:prinin:260 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. repec:fth:prinin:231 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Michael Huberman & Denise Young, 1995. "What Did Unions Do... An Analysis of Canadian Strike Data, 1901-14," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-17, CIRANO.
  5. David Card, 1988. "Unexpected Inflation, Real Wages, and Employment Determination in Union Contracts," Working Papers 612, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. repec:fth:prinin:232 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Fernandez, Raquel & Glazer, Jacob, 1991. "Striking for a Bargain between Two Completely Informed Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 240-52, March.
  8. John M. Abowd & Thomas Lemieux, 1991. "The Effects of International Competition on Collective Bargaining Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 343-367 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cramton, Peter C & Tracy, Joseph S, 1994. "Wage Bargaining with Time-Varying Threats," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 594-617, October.

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