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Collective Bargaining Laws, Threat Effects, and the Determination of Police Compensation


  • Ichniowski, Casey
  • Freeman, Richard Barry
  • Lauer, Harrison


This article demonstrates that state collective bargaining laws are important determinants of union and nonunion public employee compensation. State laws that provide stronger bargaining rights and ensure closure to the bargaining process increase the direct effect of police unions on compensation. Moreover, indirect threat effects on the pay of nonunion police also increase with stronger bargaining laws. In each law category investigated, nonunion police receive most of the compensation premium enjoyed by unionized police. Previous studies that have not adequately controlled for these effects of bargaining laws have therefore underestimated the full effect of public-sector unions on compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ichniowski, Casey & Freeman, Richard Barry & Lauer, Harrison, 1989. "Collective Bargaining Laws, Threat Effects, and the Determination of Police Compensation," Scholarly Articles 4631949, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4631949

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    Cited by:

    1. Orley Ashenfelter & Dean Hyslop, 2001. "Measuring the Effect of Arbitration on Wage Levels: The Case of Police Officers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 316-328, January.
    2. Ying L. Compton & Angela K. Gore & Susan L. Kulp, 2017. "Compensation design and political risk: the case of city managers," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 109-140, March.
    3. Ahn, Tom & Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Paying to queue: a theory of locational differences in nonunion wages," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 565-579, May.
    4. Woodbury, Stephen A & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992. "Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 287-296, May.
    5. Rebecca M. Blank, 1993. "Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States vs. The United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 4339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3573-3630 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Anne Lauringson, 2010. "Measuring Union Bargaining Power In The Estonian Public Sector," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 72, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    8. Morck Randall K & Yeung Bernard, 2010. "Corporatism and the Ghost of the Third Way," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 1-61, December.
    9. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    10. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
    11. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2009. "The Effect of Teachers' Unions on Education Production: Evidence from Union Election Certifications in Three Midwestern States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 525-587, October.
    12. Rebecca M. Blank, 1994. "Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States versus the United Kingdom," NBER Chapters,in: Social Protection versus Economic Flexibility: Is There a Trade-Off?, pages 223-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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