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The Efficiency of Collective Bargaining in Public Schools

  • Daniel S. Hosken
  • David N. Margolis

This paper develops a bargaining model of wage and employment determination for the public sectror. The solution to the model generates structural wage and employment equations that are estimated using data from New York State teacher-school district collective bargaining agreements. An advantage of this approach is that the major collective bargaining models (monopoly union, right to manage, efficient contracting, and inefficient contracting) are nested in the structural equations based on flexible functional forms and these models can be empirically tested as restrictions on estimated model parameters. The empirical results suggest that the allocation of resources generated by collective bargaining in New York State public schools is, by and large, not Pareto efficient. Furthermore, it is possible to estimate separate measures of union bargaining power over wages and employment. Empirically, it appears that union bargaining power over wages is around 0.53, while bargaining power over employment is around 0.71. In addition, the paper demonstrates the importance of controlling for the nature of the collective agreement when measuring the level of public services that flow to a community in the presence of a unionized public sector work force. Nous proposons un modèle de négociations collectives sur les salaires et l'emploi dans le secteur public. La solution de ce modèle implique des équations structurelles de détermination des salaires et d'emploi qui sont estimées à partir de données provenant des conventions colléctives des écoles publiques de l'état de New York. Notre approche a l'avantage d'englober tous les modèles majeurs de la littérature sur les négociations collectives (syndicat monopole, droit à gérer, négociations efficaces et négociations inefficaces) et de relier chaque modèle à une restriction d'égalité sur un ou plusieurs paramètres estimés. Nos résultats suggèrent que l'allocation des ressources spécifiée dans les conventions collectives des enseignants de l'état de New York n'est, en générale, pas efficace. De plus, notre approche nous permet d'estimer le pouvoir de négociationsur les salaires et sur l'emploi séparément. Nous trouvons un pouvoir de négociation sur les salaires de 0.53, et sur l'emploi de 0.71. Finalement, nous démontrons l'importance de contrôler le caractère endogène des salaires lors de l'analyse des flux des services publics dans un marché syndicalisé.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 96s-10.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:96s-10
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  1. Peter Cramton & Joseph S. Tracy, 1992. "Strikes and Holdouts in Wage Bargaining: Theory and Data," Papers of Peter Cramton 92aer, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  2. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard, 1979. "Bureaucrats versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-87, November.
  3. Manning, Alan, 1987. "An Integration of Trade Union Models in a Sequential Bargaining Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 121-39, March.
  4. Richard B. Freeman & Casey Ichniowski, 1988. "When Public Sector Workers Unionize," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free88-1, December.
  5. Currie, Janet, 1991. "Employment Determination in a Unionized Public-Sector Labor Market: The Case of Ontario's School Teachers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 45-66, January.
  6. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. Macpherson, 1993. "Union Membership and Coverage Files from the Current Population Surveys: Note," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 574-578, April.
  7. Eberts, Randall W & Stone, Joe A, 1986. "On the Contract Curve: A Test of Alternative Models of Collective Bargaining," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 66-81, January.
  8. Svejnar, Jan, 1986. "Bargaining Power, Fear of Disagreement, and Wage Settlements: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1055-78, September.
  9. Megdal, Sharon Bernstein, 1984. "A model of local demand for education," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 13-30, July.
  10. 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 S3-S39, June.
  11. Abowd, John M, 1989. "The Effect of Wage Bargains on the Stock Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 774-800, September.
  12. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  13. 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.
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