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Union Attitudes to Labor-Saving Innovation: When Are Unions Luddites?

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  • Dowrick, Steve
  • Spencer, Barbara J

Abstract

The response of union utility to labor-saving innovation is analyzed within a framework of oligopolistic competition in the product market, taking account of wage bargaining under several alternative structures of industrial relations. Conditions are established under which wages and employment will rise or fall in response to innovation. Union opposition tends to occur when union preferences are weighted in favor of jobs and labor demand is perceived to be inelastic. Thus, opposition is more likely with industry- or craft-based union organization in noncompetitive industries and is less likely with enterprise unionism in competitive industries. Copyright 1994 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Dowrick, Steve & Spencer, Barbara J, 1994. "Union Attitudes to Labor-Saving Innovation: When Are Unions Luddites?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 316-344, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:12:y:1994:i:2:p:316-44
    DOI: 10.1086/298359
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sean Flaherty, 1987. "Strike Activity, Worker Militancy, and Productivity Change in Manufacturing, 1961–1981," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 585-600, July.
    2. Dowrick, Steve, 1989. "Union-Oligopoly Bargaining," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1123-1142, December.
    3. Lawrence Mishel, 1986. "The Structural Determinants of Union Bargaining Power," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(1), pages 90-104, October.
    4. Anderson, Simon P & Devereux, Michael, 1988. " Trade Unions and the Choice of Capital Stock," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(1), pages 27-44.
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