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:
Publication status: published as Olken, Benjamin A. and Michael Kremer. “A Biological Model of Unions." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 1, 2 (April 2009): 150-175.
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 - - 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.:
- Feenstra, Robert & Markusen, James R. & Rose, Andrew K, 1998.
"Understanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Robert C. Feenstra & James A. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 1998. "Undertstanding the Home Market Effect and the Gravity Equation: The Role of Differentiating Goods," NBER Working Papers 6804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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, May.
- Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1996.
"The Macroeconomics of Specificity,"
NBER Working Papers
5757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
- Paula B. Voos, 1983. "Union organizing: Costs and benefits," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(4), pages 576-591, July.
- Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1994.
"Do Unions Make Enterprises Insolvent?,"
NBER Working Papers
4797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William T. Dickens & Jonathan S. Leonard, 1985. "Accounting for the decline in union membership, 1950û1980," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(3), pages 323-334, April.
- 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.
- Barry T. Hirsch, 2004.
"What Do Unions Do for Economic Performance?,"
Journal of Labor Research,
Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 415-456, July.
- David Card & Craig A. Olson, 1992.
"Bargaining Power, Strike Durations, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s,"
674, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Card, David & Olson, Craig A, 1995. "Bargaining Power, Strike Durations, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 32-61, January.
- David Card & Craig A. Olson, 1992. "Bargaining Power, Strike Duration, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," NBER Working Papers 4075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Moene, K.O. & Wallerstein, M. & Hoel, M., 1992. "Bargaining Structure and Economic Performance," Memorandum 10/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- William T. Dickens & Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "Accounting For The Decline in Union Membership," NBER Working Papers 1275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Thomas J. Holmes, 2006.
"Geographic Spillover of Unionism,"
NBER Working Papers
12025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.