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The Determinants of U.S. Labor Disputes

  • Cramton, Peter C
  • Tracy, Joseph S

The authors present a bargaining model of union contract negotiations in which the union decides between two threats: the union can strike or it can continue to work under the expired contract. The model makes predictions about the level of dispute activity and the form disputes take. Strike incidence increases as the strike threat becomes more attractive because of low unemployment or a real wage drop. The authors test these predictions by estimating logistic models of dispute incidence and dispute composition for negotiations from 1970 to 1989. They find support for the model's key predictions but these associations are weaker after 1981. Copyright 1994 by University of Chicago Press.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (1994)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 180-209

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:12:y:1994:i:2:p:180-209
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  1. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1989. "Strategic Bargaining Models and Interpretation of Strike Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages S87-130, Supplemen.
  2. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  3. Admati, Anat R & Perry, Motty, 1987. "Strategic Delay in Bargaining," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 345-64, July.
  4. Card, David, 1990. "Strikes and Bargaining: A Survey of the Recent Empirical Literature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 410-15, May.
  5. Tracy, Joseph S, 1987. "An Empirical Test of an Asymmetric Information Model of Strikes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(2), pages 149-73, April.
  6. McConnell, Sheena, 1989. "Strikes, Wages, and Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 801-15, September.
  7. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, 07.
  8. 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.
  9. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1990. "The Internationalization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Reder, Melvin W & Neumann, George R, 1980. "Conflict and Contract: The Case of Strikes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 867-86, October.
  11. Michael L. Wachter & William H. Carter, 1989. "Norm Shifts in Union Wages: Will 1989 Be a Replay of 1969?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(2), pages 233-276.
  12. John M. Abowd & Joseph S. Tracy, 1988. "Market Structure, Strike Activity, and Union Wage Settlements," NBER Working Papers 2595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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