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Industrial Conflict, the Quality of Worklife, and the Productivity Slowdown in U.S. Manufacturing

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  • Michele I. Naples

Abstract

Productivity analysis generally omits the study of labor performed per labor hour hired. It therefore fails to identify two important determinants of productivity: workplace conflict and industrial accidents. Consideration of the effect of deteriorating work relation s increases the proportion of the variance of productivity growth explained for 1951-80 by 37 percent above technical models; and social-relations variables alone explain almost two-thirds of the productivity slowdown of 1973-80. The seemingly small impact of the energy crisis is also clarified: the labor-effort/labor-hours distinction implies that the energy/labor ratio is subject to measurement error.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele I. Naples, 1988. "Industrial Conflict, the Quality of Worklife, and the Productivity Slowdown in U.S. Manufacturing," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 157-166, Apr-Jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:14:y:1988:i:2:p:157-166
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume14/V14N2P157_166.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
    2. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-378, June.
    3. Martin Neil Baily, 1981. "Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 1-66.
    4. Robert J. Gordon, 1979. "The "End-of-Expansion" Phenomenon in Short-Run Productivity Behavior," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(2), pages 447-462.
    5. Bowles, Samuel, 1985. "The Production Process in a Competitive Economy: Walrasian, Neo-Hobbesian, and Marxian Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 16-36, March.
    6. Herbert Gintis & Herbert Gintis, 1976. "The Nature of Labor Exchange and the Theory of Capitalist Production," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 8(2), pages 36-54, July.
    7. Raford Boddy & James Crotty, 1975. "Class Conflict and Macro-Policy: The Political Business Cycle," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, April.
    8. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538-538.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 1996. "Can Technology Improvements Cause Productivity Slowdowns?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 209-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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