IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Hours of Work and Trade Unionism


  • Earle, John S
  • Pencavel, John


This article is concerned with hours worked per employee in unionized labor markets. First, the determination of hours is examined in the context of various bargaining models and, in the process, these models are nested in a general framework. Then cross-section and time-series data are drawn on to quantify the effects of unionism on hours worked. The time-series data from 1920 to 1980 imply a negative impact of unionism on full-time hours, while cross-section data for 1978 suggest some notable differences in both the direction and the magnitude of this impact across occupations and industries. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Earle, John S & Pencavel, John, 1990. "Hours of Work and Trade Unionism," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 150-174, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:8:y:1990:i:1:p:s150-74

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Duncan, Greg J & Stafford, Frank P, 1980. "Do Union Members Receive Compensating Wage Differentials?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 355-371, June.
    2. Brown, James N & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1986. "Testing the Efficiency of Employment Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 40-87, June.
    3. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-193.
    4. Pencavel, John, 1985. " Wages and Employment under Trade Unionism: Microeconomic Models and Macroeconomic Applications," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 197-225.
    5. Carruth, Alan A & Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. "Miners' Wages in Post-war Britain: An Application of a Model of Trade Union Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380), pages 1003-1020, December.
    6. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
    7. John M. Abowd, 1987. "Collective Bargaining and the Division of the Value of the Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 2137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ashenfelter, Orley & Johnson, George E, 1969. "Bargaining Theory, Trade Unions, and Industrial Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 35-49, March.
    9. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 3-39, June.
    10. Henry S. Farber, 1984. "The Analysis of Union Behavior," NBER Working Papers 1502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Allen, Steven G, 1986. "Union Work Rules and Efficiency in the Building Trades," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 212-242, April.
    12. Henry S. Farber, 1984. "The Analysis of Union Behavior," Working papers 355, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    13. Tauman, Y & Weiss, Y, 1987. "Labor Unions and the Adoption of New Technology," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 477-501, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jennifer Hunt, 1996. "The Response of Wages and Actual Hours Worked to the Reduction of Standard Hours in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 138, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. canegrati, emanuele, 2007. "The single-mindedness of labor unions when transfers are not Lump-Sum," MPRA Paper 2320, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Seppo Honkapohja & John Kay & Willi Leibfritz & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Xavier Vives, 2005. "Chapter 3: Longer Working Hours - the Beginning of a new Trend?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 51-68, March.
    4. Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Has Work-Sharing Worked in Germany?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 117-148.
    5. Wehke, Sven, 2009. "Union wages, hours of work and the effectiveness of partial coordination agreements," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 89-96, January.
    6. Vanessa V Tinsley, 2003. "Firms and Layoffs: The Impact of Unionization on Involuntary Job Loss," Working Papers 03-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Thomas C. Buchmueller & John DiNardo & Robert Valletta, 2004. "A Submerging Labor Market Institution?Unions and the Nonwage Aspects of Work," NBER Chapters,in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 231-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Reichling, Felix, 2006. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Labor Market Equilibrium when Workers can Self-Insure," MPRA Paper 5362, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2007.
    9. S. Erbaş & Chera Sayers, 2001. "Can a Shorter Workweek Induce Higher Employment? Mandatory Reductions in the Workweek and Employment Subsidies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 485-509, August.
    10. Elisabetta Magnani & David Prentice, 2000. "Unionisation, short-run flexibility and cost efficiency: Evidence from U.S. manufacturing," Working Papers 2000.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    11. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Work Hours in Chinese Enterprises: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 10-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    12. Canegrati, Emanuele, 2007. "The Single-Mindedness of Labor Unions: Theory and Empirical Evidence," MPRA Paper 1398, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. repec:spr:jlabre:v:38:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s12122-017-9253-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Elías Albagli & Pablo García & Jorge Restrepo, 2004. "Labor Market Rigidity and Structural Shocks: An Open-Economy Approach for International Comparisons," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 263, Central Bank of Chile.
    15. Klasa, Sandy & Maxwell, William F. & Ortiz-Molina, Hernán, 2009. "The strategic use of corporate cash holdings in collective bargaining with labor unions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 421-442, June.
    16. Adriana Cassoni, 1997. "A brief survey on the role of trade unions in labour market," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0697, Department of Economics - dECON.
    17. Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2001. "The effects of working time reductions on wages, actual hours and equilibrium unemployment," Working Paper Series 2001:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    18. Jennifer Hunt, 1996. "The Response of Wages and Actual Hours Worked to the Reductions of Standard Hours," NBER Working Papers 5716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:8:y:1990:i:1:p:s150-74. 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: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.