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An Anatomy of Public Sector Unions

  • Hirsch, Barry

    ()

    (Georgia State University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7313.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Michael Green and Samuel Estreicher (eds.), The Challenge for Collective Bargaining: Proceedings of the NYU 65th Annual Conference on Labor, LexisNexis, 2013
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7313
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  1. Richard B. Freeman, 1984. "Unionism Comes to the Public Sector," NBER Working Papers 1452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hirsch, Barry, 2007. "Sluggish Institutions in a Dynamic World: Can Unions and Industrial Competition Coexist?," IZA Discussion Papers 2930, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Maury Gittleman & Brooks Pierce, 2012. "Compensation for State and Local Government Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 217-42, Winter.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Richard B. Freeman & Casey Ichniowski, 1988. "When Public Sector Workers Unionize," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free88-1.
  7. Charles Brown & James L. Medoff, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," NBER Working Papers 2870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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