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The Decline of Unionization in the United States: What Can Be Learned from Recent Experience

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  • Farber, Henry S

Abstract

The dramatic decline in unionization over the last decade is investigated in the context of a supply/demand model of union status determination using data from surveys of workers conducted in 1977 and 1984 along with data from the National Labor Relations Board on representation elections. It is concluded that the decline in unionization since 1977 is accounted for largely by (1) an increase in employer resistance to unionization, probably due to increased product market competitiveness and (2) a decrease in demand for union representation by nonunion workers due to an increase in the satisfaction of nonunion workers with their jobs and a decline in nonunion workers' beliefs that unions are able to improve wages and working conditions. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Farber, Henry S, 1990. "The Decline of Unionization in the United States: What Can Be Learned from Recent Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 75-105, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:8:y:1990:i:1:p:s75-105
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    Cited by:

    1. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2003. "Choice of School in Australia: Determinants and Consequences," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(1), pages 55-78, March.
    2. Eguchi, Kyota, 2002. "Unions as commitment devices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 407-421, April.
    3. Magnani, Elisabetta & Prentice, David, 2003. "Did globalization reduce unionization? Evidence from US manufacturing," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 705-726, December.
    4. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2001. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 1-30.
    5. Behroz Baraghoshi & Cihan Bilginsoy, 2013. "Interstate Variations in Private Sector Union Density in the U.S," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 180-202, June.
    6. Thomas Kochan & Marc Weinstein, 1994. "Recent Developments in US Industrial Relations," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 32(4), pages 483-504, December.
    7. Christopher K. Coombs & Richard Cebula, 2011. "The Impact of Union Corruption on Union Membership," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 131-148, January.
    8. Elisabetta Magnani & David Prentice, 2010. "Outsourcing And Unionization: A Tale Of Misallocated (Resistance) Resources," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 460-482, April.
    9. P.W. Miller & L. Neo, 1997. "Immigrant unemployment: The Australian experience," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 97-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    10. Henry S. Farber & Bruce Western, 2000. "Round Up The Usual Suspects: The Decline of Unions in The Private Sector, 1973-1998," Working Papers 816, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. David Card, 1992. "The Effect of Unions on the Distribution of Wages: Redistribution or Relabelling?," NBER Working Papers 4195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Sarkar, Santanu, 2012. "Determinants of employees’ attitudes toward union membership in India," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 240-250.
    13. Henry S. Farber & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "Union Membership in the United States: The Decline Continues," Working Papers 685, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    14. Henry S. Farber, 2001. "Notes on the Economics of Labor Unions," Working Papers 831, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    15. Francis Green, 1992. "Recent Trends in British Trade Union Density: How Much of a Compositional Effect?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 445-458, September.
    16. Edgar Preugschat, 2009. "Unionization Patterns and Firm Reallocation," 2009 Meeting Papers 1114, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Paul W. Miller, 1994. "Gender Discrimination in Training: An Australian Perspective," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 32(4), pages 539-564, December.
    18. Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2001. "Private Sector Union Density and the Wage Premium: Past, Present, and Future ," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(3), pages 487-518, July.
    20. Henry S. Farber, 2001. "Notes on the Economics of Labor Unions," Working Papers 831, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    21. Henry S. Farber & Bruce Western, 2000. "Round Up The Usual Suspects: The Decline of Unions in The Private Sector, 1973-1998," Working Papers 816, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..

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