IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The rising skill premium and deunionization

Listed author(s):
  • Açıkgöz, Ömer Tuğrul
  • Kaymak, Barış

During the past 50 years, the US economy has seen a rapid decline in labor union membership and a substantial rise in wage inequality. Since labor unions compress wages between skilled and unskilled workers, a rising skill premium encourages skilled workers to withdraw from the union. If this withdrawal is accompanied by a fall in the productivity of unskilled workers, firms become reluctant to hire the relatively expensive union workers, reinforcing the decline in the unionization rate. Evaluating this hypothesis, we find that the rise in the skill premium explains about 40% of the decline in the unionization rate.

If 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.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304393214000142
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 37-50

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:63:y:2014:i:c:p:37-50
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2014.01.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as
in new window


  1. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
  2. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1692-1706, September.
  3. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Union Membership in the United States: The Divergence between the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 882, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Grossman, Gene M, 1983. "Union Wages, Temporary Layoffs, and Seniority," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 277-290, June.
  5. Thomas Breda, 2010. "Firms' rents, workers' bargaining power and the union wage premium in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564903, HAL.
  6. Baris Kaymak, 2009. "Ability Bias and the Rising Education Premium in the United States: A Cohort-Based Analysis," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 224-267.
  7. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 75-96, Spring.
  8. Nicole Gürtzgen, 2006. "The Effect of Firm- ans Industry-Level Contracts on Wages: Evidence from Longitudinal Linked Employer-Employee Data," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-082, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
  10. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 1998. "Unions, Wages, and Skills," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 201-219.
  11. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2009. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 1-49.
  12. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
  13. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
  14. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Farber, Henry S, 1983. "The Determination of the Union Status of Workers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1417-1437, September.
  16. Fernando Alvarez & Robert Shimer, 2011. "Search and Rest Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 75-122, January.
  17. Robert E. Baldwin, 2003. "Decline of US Labor Unions and the Role of Trade, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 352.
  18. Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1991. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 662, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  19. Haider, Steven J, 2001. "Earnings Instability and Earnings Inequality of Males in the United States: 1967-1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 799-836, October.
  20. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 3-23, October.
  21. Ebell, Monique & Haefke, Christian, 2006. "Product Market Regulation and Endogenous Union Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2222, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-979, July.
  23. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1982. "Job Queues and the Union Status of Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 354-367, April.
  24. Reder, Melvin W, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of Unions: The Public Sector and the Private," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 89-110, Spring.
  25. Winfried Koeniger & Marco Leonardi & Luca Nunziata, 2007. "Labor Market Institutions and Wage Inequality," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(3), pages 340-356, April.
  26. David Card, 2001. "The Effect of Unions on Wage Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 296-315, January.
  27. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L., 2001. "Deunionization, technical change and inequality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 229-264, December.
  28. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  29. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2004. "Economic Impacts of Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001," NBER Working Papers 10598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 662, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  31. Lars A. Stole & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410.
  32. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 65-97, October.
  33. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data Since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128.
  34. Lemieux, Thomas, 1998. "Estimating the Effects of Unions on Wage Inequality in a Panel Data Model with Comparative Advantage and Nonrandom Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 261-291, April.
  35. David Card, 1998. "Falling Union Membership and Rising Wage Inequality: What's the Connection?," NBER Working Papers 6520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2004. "Economic Impacts of New Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984–2001," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1383-1441.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:63:y:2014:i:c:p:37-50. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.