A Biological Model of Unions
AbstractThis paper applies principles from evolutionary biology to the study of unions. We show that unions which maximize the present discounted wages of current members will be displaced in evolutionary competition by unions with more moderate wage policies that allow their firms to live longer. This suggests that unions with constitutional incumbency advantages that allow leaders to moderate members' wage demands may have a selective advantage. The model also suggests that industries with high turnover of firms will have low unionization rates, and that there may be one equilibrium with high unionization and long-lived firms and another with low unionization and short-lived firms. These predictions seem broadly consistent with the data.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8257.
Date of creation: Apr 2001
Date of revision:
Note: EFG LS
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2001-05-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2001-05-02 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2001-05-02 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard B. Freeman, 1998.
"Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes,"
in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 265-296
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1997. "Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes," NBER Working Papers 6012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Clark, Kim B & Freeman, Richard B, 1980.
"How Elastic is the Demand for Labor?,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 509-20, November.
- Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988.
"Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries,"
1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
- Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1988. "Patterns of Firm Entry and Exit in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 495-515, Winter.
- Barry T. Hirsch & David A. MacPherson, 1993. "Union membership and coverage files from the Current Population Surveys: Note," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 574-578, April.
- Michael D. Bordo & Claudia Goldin & Eugene N. White, 1998. "The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord98-1, December.
- Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1999.
"Do unions make enterprises insolvent?,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review,
ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 510-527, July.
- Moene, K.O. & Wallerstein, M. & Hoel, M., 1992. "Bargaining Structure and Economic Performance," Memorandum 10/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Caballero, R-J & Hammour, M-L, 1996.
"The Macroeconomics of Specificity,"
96-25, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- William T. Dickens & Jonathan S. Leonard, 1985. "Accounting For The Decline in Union Membership," NBER Working Papers 1275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Thomas J. Holmes, 2006.
"Geographic spillover of unionism,"
368, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.