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Getting It Right: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications from Research on Public-Sector Unionism and Collective Bargaining

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Abstract

The United States is in the throes of a public-policy debate about public-sector unionism and collective bargaining. The ostensible trigger of this debate is the fiscal crises that state and local governments have been experiencing since 2008. The debate largely centers on the extent to which public employee unions have contributed to this crisis through the pay and benefits they have negotiated for public employees. The role of government as employer is connected in this debate to the role of government as a taxing authority and provider of public services. These roles are often claimed to be in conflict with one another — that is, governments as employers are seen as not exercising the same due diligence in setting pay and benefits as private-sector employers. The research evidence indicates, however, that these claims about public employment are based on incomplete and in some cases inaccurate understanding.

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  • David Lewin & Thomas Kochan & Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld & Teresa Ghilarducci & Harry Katz & Jeff Keefe & Daniel J.B. Mitchell & Craig Olson & Saul Rubinstein & Christian Weller, 2011. "Getting It Right: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications from Research on Public-Sector Unionism and Collective Bargaining," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2011-08, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  • Handle: RePEc:epa:cepawp:2011-08
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    1. David Neumark & Joanne Song, 2012. "Barriers to Later Retirement: Increases in the Full Retirement Age, Age Discrimination, and the Physical Challenges of Work," Working Papers wp265, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    Keywords

    Labor; Unions; Public-Sector; Collective Bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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