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Union Effects: Wages, Turnover, and Job Training

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  • Jacob Mincer

Abstract

This study explores the existence of a net union premium and of the extent of rationing by quality of the resulting excess supply. The net union premium was estimated by relating changes in wages to changes in union status of the same worker in longitudinal panels (NLS and MID), and by two cross-section wage level regressions, a "prospective" and "retrospective" which permit more direct observation of selectivity in hiring. Over a half of the cross-section differential of over 20% for the "same" (standardized) worker is a net union rent and much of the rest reflects a quality adjustment in hiring, as measured by wages. This conclusion was less reliable for older workers. Subsequent analysis explores the effects of successful union wage pressure on: quit rates, fringe benefits, wage profiles, and training. The reduction in quit of union joiners depends on the size of the net wage premium. Quit rate differentials are also positively related to the gross, cross-section wage differentials within groups of workers, classified by location and occupation, less so by industry. In Section 4, it is hypothesized that the imposition of larger fixed labor costs (such as fringes) helps to deter employers from preferring reductions in hours to reductions in men, and it helps to stabilize employment in the face of fluctuating demand, by a more frequent use of overtime and of temporary layoffs in the union sector. This hypothesis links the size of fringe benefits to the union wage gain. An analysis of firms in 70 industries confirms this link. Union pressure is exerted on the whole tenure profile of wages. The explicit linking of wage levels to seniority reduces incentives for worker investment in general (transferable) training. The total volume of training is indeed reported to be smaller in union jobs, and this is consistent with the flatter profile.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Mincer, 1981. "Union Effects: Wages, Turnover, and Job Training," NBER Working Papers 0808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0808
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Johnson, George E, 1975. "Economic Analysis of Trade Unionism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 23-28, May.
    2. Ashenfelter, Orley & Johnson, George E, 1972. "Unionism, Relative Wages, and Labor Quality in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 488-508, October.
    3. Mellow, Wesley S, 1981. "Unionism and Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 43-52, February.
    4. Simon Rottenberg, 1981. "The Economics of Legal Minimum Wages," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 971842, September.
    5. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1982. "Job Queues and the Union Status of Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 354-367, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    2. Camilo Alberto Cárdenas Hurtado & María Alejandra Hernández Montes & Jhon Edwar Torres Gorron, 2015. "A Statistical Analysis of Heterogeneity on Labour Markets and Unemployment Rates in Colombia," Revista Desarrollo y Sociedad, Universidad de los Andes – Facultad de Economía – CEDE, August.
    3. Lucrezia Fanti & Dario Guarascio & Matteo Tubiana, 2019. "Skill Gap, Mismatch, and the Dynamics of Italian Companies' Productivity," LEM Papers Series 2019/30, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. Harry J. Holzer, 1990. "Wages, Employer Costs, and Employee Performance in the Firm," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 147-1-164-, April.
    5. Gary Solon, 1983. "Estimating Autocorrelations in Fixed-Effects Models," Working Papers 540, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Yanick Labrie & Claude Montmarquette, 2005. "La formation qualifiante et transférable en milieu de travail," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-04, CIRANO.
    7. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Schwarz, Joshua L., 1987. "Public-sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1219-1260, Elsevier.
    8. Derek Hum & Wayne Simpson, 2003. "Job-Related Training Activity by Immigrants to Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(4), pages 469-489, December.
    9. Giovanni Dosi & Dario Guarascio & Andrea Ricci & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2021. "Neodualism in the Italian business firms: training, organizational capabilities, and productivity distributions," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 167-189, June.
    10. Arthur J. Hosios & Aloysius Siow, 2004. "Unions without rents: the curious economics of faculty unions," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(1), pages 28-52, February.
    11. Arthur J. Hosios & Aloysius Siow, 2004. "Unions without rents: the curious economics of faculty unions," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(1), pages 28-52, February.
    12. Kim Hoque & Nicolas Bacon, 2008. "Trade Unions, Union Learning Representatives and Employer‐Provided Training in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 46(4), pages 702-731, December.

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