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Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires

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  • Alan B. Krueger
  • Alexandre Mas

Abstract

This paper provides a case study of the effect of labor relations on product quality. We consider whether a long, contentious strike and the hiring of replacement workers at Bridgestone/Firestone's Decatur, Illinois, plant in the mid-1990s contributed to the production of defective tires. Using several independent data sources and looking before and after the strike and across plants, we find that labor strife at the Decatur plant closely coincided with lower product quality. Monthly data suggest that defects were particularly high around the time concessions were demanded and when large numbers of replacement workers and returning strikers worked side by side.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2004. "Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 253-289, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:2:p:253-289
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon G├Ąchter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. repec:fth:prinin:461 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2004. "Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 253-289, April.
    4. Alan Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2002. "Strikes, Scabs and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Working Papers 840, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    6. Harry C. Katz & Thomas A. Kochan & Kenneth R. Gobeille, 1983. "Industrial Relations Performance, Economic Performance, and QWL Programs: An Interplant Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 3-17, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N51 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N61 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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