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Strikes, Scabs and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires

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  • Krueger, Alan B.

    (Princeton University)

  • Mas, Alexandre

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

This paper provides a case study of the effect of labor relations on product quality. We consider whether a long, contentious strike and the hiring of replacement workers at Bridgestone/Firestone’s Decatur plant in the mid-1990s contributed to the production of defective tires. Using several independent data sources, and looking before and after the strike and across plants, we find that labor strife at the Decatur plant closely coincided with lower product quality. Monthly data suggest that defects were particularly high around the time concessions were demanded and when large numbers of replacement workers and returning strikers worked side by side.

Suggested Citation

  • Krueger, Alan B. & Mas, Alexandre, 2003. "Strikes, Scabs and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," IZA Discussion Papers 869, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp869
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Harry C. Katz & Thomas A. Kochan & Kenneth R. Gobeille, 1983. "Industrial Relations Performance, Economic Performance, and QWL Programs: An Interplant Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 3-17, October.
    3. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2004. "Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 253-289, April.
    4. Morris M. Kleiner & Jonathan S. Leonard & Adam M. Pilarski, 1999. "Do Industrial Relations Affect Plant Performance?: The Case of Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 7414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:fth:prinin:461 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Alan Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2002. "Strikes, Scabs and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Working Papers 840, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    8. repec:pri:cepsud:77krueger is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2004. "Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 253-289, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bridgestone/Firestone; product quality; labor relations; strike;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration

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