IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

What Do Unions Do?: The 2004 M-Brane Stringtwister Edition

  • Richard B. Freeman

The Journal of Labor Research 20th anniversary symposium review of What Do Unions Do? offers a unique opportunity to examine how the claims made in the book have fared in ensuing research and to ponder what parts of the book I would change if I could. This paper responds to the 18 critical essays in the journal. It recognizes three major errors of omission: failure to take account of unionism outside the US; failure to analyze public sector unionism; and failure to analyze the effects of unionism on economic growth; and the problem of determining the "optimal level of unionism" on the basis of estimates of what unions do. Ensuing research has found that What Do Unions Do? correctly identified union effects on turnover, fringe benefits, earnings inequality, political action, profits, managerial flexibility and human resource management, and that wage effects vary widely. Estimates of the union effect on productivity tend to be positive but modest, ruling out negative effects on average, but not conclusively establishing positive effects. Critical comments from some of the symposium panelists notwithstanding, I believe that the bulk of the evidence supports the What Do Unions Do? claim that management opposition has been a major factor in the decline in union density in the US.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11410.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11410.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Freeman, Richard B. "What Do Unions Do? The 2004 M-Brance Stringtwister Edition," Journal of Labor Research, 2005, v26(4,Fall), 641-668.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11410
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  2. Bruce E. Kaufman, 2005. "Historical Insights: The Early Institutionalists on Trade Unionism and Labor Policy," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 26(1), pages 1-32, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Richard Freeman, 2005. "Labour market institutions without blinders: The debate over flexibility and labour market performance," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 129-145.
  5. John W. Budd, 2004. "Non-Wage Forms of Compensation," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 597-622, October.
  6. Chris Doucouliagos & Patrice Laroche, 2007. "Unions and Profitability: A Meta-Analysis," Economics Series 2007_01, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  7. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
  8. Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2003. "Union Voice," IZA Discussion Papers 862, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Barry T. Hirsch, 1991. "Labor Unions and the Economic Performance of Unions," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number luepf, November.
  10. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters, in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Clark, Kim B, 1984. "Unionization and Firm Performance: The Impact on Profits, Growth, and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 893-919, December.
  12. Richard B. Freeman & Martin L. Weitzman, 1986. "Bonuses and Employment in Japan," NBER Working Papers 1878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Freeman, Richard B. & Ichniowski, Casey (ed.), 1988. "When Public Sector Workers Unionize," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226261669.
  14. Richard B. Freeman & Robert Valletta, 1988. "The Effects of Public Sector Labor Laws on Labor Market Institutions and Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: When Public Sector Workers Unionize, pages 81-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Clark, Kim B, 1980. "Unionization and Productivity: Micro-Econometric Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 613-39, December.
  16. Richard B. Freeman & Casey Ichniowski, 1988. "When Public Sector Workers Unionize," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free88-1, October.
  17. Hirsch, Barry, 2003. "What Do Unions Do for Economic Performance?," IZA Discussion Papers 892, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. David Card, 2001. "The Effect of Unions on Wage Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 296-315, January.
  19. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
  20. Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Unions Do: Insights from Economic Theory," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 351-382, July.
  21. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226723761 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. 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.
  23. John Pencavel, 2005. "Unionism Viewed Internationally," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 26(1), pages 65-97, January.
  24. Toke Aidt & Zafiris Tzannatos, 2002. "Unions and Collective Bargaining : Economic Effects in a Global Environment," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15241.
  25. Laroche, P., 2000. "What do Unions do to Productivity? A Meta-Analysis," Papers 2000-5, Groupe de recherche en économie financière et en gestion des entreprises, Universite Nancy 2.
  26. Freeman, Richard B, 1976. "Individual Mobility and Union Voice in the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 361-68, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11410. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.