IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

A Reconsideration of the Effects of Unionism on Relative Wages and Employment in the United States, 1920-80

Listed author(s):
  • John H. Pencavel
  • Catherine E. Hartsog

H. Gregg Lewis' estimates of the relative wage effect of unionism between 1920 and 1958 are routinely cited though they have rarely been subject to scrutiny. This paper extends Lewis' data to 1980 and, in particular, we construct a series on union membership that links up with the data available in the 1970's from the Current Population Surveys. We proceed to reexamine the effects of trade unions both on relative wages and on relative man hours worked.Our estimates of the relative wage effect are similar to Lewis' though these are not measured with precision and a wide range of estimates are consistent with the results. With respect to the effect of unionism on relative man hours worked, we are not at all satisfied that the analysis of these data clearly points to the existence of a negative effect.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1316.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 1984
Publication status: published as Pencavel, John H. "A Reconsiderstion of the Effects of Unionism on Relative Wages and Employment in the United States, 1920-80," Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 2, No. 2, April 1984, pp. 193-232.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1316
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:

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.:

in new window

  1. 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.
  2. Shoven, John B, 1976. "The Incidence and Efficiency Effects of Taxes on Income from Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1261-1283, December.
  3. M. W. Reder, 1965. "Unions and Wages: The Problems of Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 188-188.
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:1316. 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.