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Wage Dispersion in a Partially Unionized Labor Force

  • Addison, John T.


    (University of South Carolina)

  • Bailey, Ralph


    (University of Birmingham)

  • Siebert, W. Stanley


    (University of Birmingham)

Taking as our point of departure a model proposed by David Card (2001), we suggest new methods for analyzing wage dispersion in a partially unionized labor market. Card's method disaggregates the labor population into skill categories, which procedure entails some loss of information. Accordingly, we develop a model in which each worker individually is assigned a union-membership probability and predicted union and nonunion wages. The model yields a natural three-way decomposition of variance. The decomposition permits counterfactual analysis, using concepts and techniques from the theory of factorial experimental design. We examine causes of the increase in U.K. wage dispersion between 1983 and 1995. Of the factors initially considered, the most influential was a change in the structure of remuneration inside both the union and nonunion sectors. Next in importance was the decrease in union membership. Finally, exogenous changes in labor force characteristics had, for most groups considered, only a small negative effect. We supplement this preliminary three-factorial analysis with a five-factorial analysis that allows us to examine effects from the wage-equation parameters in greater detail.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4202.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4202
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  1. David Card, 2001. "The Effect of unions on wage inequality in the U.S. labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 296-315, January.
  2. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working Papers 780, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Richard B. Freeman, 1978. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," NBER Working Papers 0248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "What Do Unions Do?: The 2004 M-Brane Stringtwister Edition," NBER Working Papers 11410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: a Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  6. Amanda Gosling & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Labour Market Reforms and Changes in Wage Inequality in the United Kingdom and the United States," NBER Working Papers 8413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card93-1, December.
  8. Machin, Stephen, 1997. "The decline of labour market institutions and the rise in wage inequality in Britain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 647-657, April.
  9. Bell, Brian D & Pitt, Michael K, 1998. "Trade Union Decline and the Distribution of Wages in the UK: Evidence from Kernel Density Estimation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(4), pages 509-28, November.
  10. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
  11. Juan Francisco Canal Domínguez & César Rodríguez Gutiérrez, 2004. "Collective Bargaining and Within-firm Wage Dispersion in Spain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 481-506, 09.
  12. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
  13. Addison, John T. & Bailey, Ralph & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2003. "The Impact of Deunionisation on Earnings Dispersion Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Checchi, Daniele & Visser, Jelle & van de Werfhorst, Herman G., 2007. "Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 2691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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