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An Anatomy of Public Sector Unions

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  • Hirsch, Barry

    () (Georgia State University)

Abstract

Public sector unionism grew rapidly during the late 1960s and early 1970s following the passage of state collective bargaining laws. During the last thirty years, public sector membership has grown at roughly the same rate as the overall workforce. This paper provides a descriptive overview of union membership growth and economy-wide employment shares in the U.S. federal (non-postal), Postal Service, state, and local government sectors. More limited evidence is provided on changes in relative public/private and union/nonunion wages. Observations are provided on the current debates regarding public/private pay and the role of public sector unions.

Suggested Citation

  • Hirsch, Barry, 2013. "An Anatomy of Public Sector Unions," IZA Discussion Papers 7313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7313
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barry T. Hirsch, 2008. "Sluggish Institutions in a Dynamic World: Can Unions and Industrial Competition Coexist?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 153-176, Winter.
    2. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. MacPherson, 2003. "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey: Note," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 349-354, January.
    3. Christopher R. Bollinger & Barry T. Hirsch, 2006. "Match Bias from Earnings Imputation in the Current Population Survey: The Case of Imperfect Matching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 483-520, July.
    4. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    5. Freeman, Richard B, 1986. "Unionism Comes to the Public Sector," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 41-86.
    6. Maury Gittleman & Brooks Pierce, 2012. "Compensation for State and Local Government Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 217-242, Winter.
    7. Richard B. Freeman & Casey Ichniowski, 1988. "When Public Sector Workers Unionize," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free88-1, January.
    8. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
    9. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
    10. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year Perspective," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 339-350, July.
    11. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2002. "Changes over time in union relative wage effects in the UK and the US revisited," NBER Working Papers 9395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2016. "A comparison of the wage structure between the public and private sectors in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 73-90.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public sector pay; public sector unions; union membership; employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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