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Unionization and Cost of Production: Compensation, Productivity, and Factor-Use Effects


  • Eberts, Randall W
  • Stone, Joe A


Unionization affects costs of production through compensation premia, technology shifts, and deviations from the least-cost combination of inputs. The first two are familiar, but the last is not. This article distinguishes the three effects, illustrates the factor-use effect, and suggests that it may resolve several apparent inconsistencies: union-induced cost effects appear larger than those implied by union compensation and productivity differentials; union compensation and productivity differentials suggest a larger effect on labor intensity of output than is observed; and employers complain that union work rules reduce productivity when there is little evidence that this is so. Copyright 1991 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Eberts, Randall W & Stone, Joe A, 1991. "Unionization and Cost of Production: Compensation, Productivity, and Factor-Use Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 171-185, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:9:y:1991:i:2:p:171-85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1987. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Long-term Employment Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 50-68, March.
    2. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1984. "Macroeconomic analyses and microeconomic analyses of labor supply," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 117-156, January.
    3. Lillard, Lee & Smith, James P & Welch, Finis, 1986. "What Do We Really Know about Wages? The Importance of Nonreporting and Census Imputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 489-506, June.
    4. repec:pri:indrel:dsp014m90dv50s is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    6. Orley Ashenfelter, 1984. "Macroeconomic Analyses and Microeconomic Analyses of Labor Supply," Working Papers 553, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Orley Ashenfelter & Gary Solon, 1982. "Longitudinal Labor Market Data: Sources, Uses, and Limitations," Working Papers 535, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. repec:fth:prinin:155 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
    10. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-532, October.
    11. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 176-215, June.
    12. Griliches, Zvi, 1974. "Errors in Variables and Other Unobservables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(6), pages 971-998, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Randall Eberts & Kevin Hollenbeck & Joe Stone, 2002. "Teacher Performance Incentives and Student Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 913-927.
    2. 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.
    3. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 2000. "Evidence on the Impact of State Government on Primary and Secondary Education and the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 285-308, April.

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