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Productivity Levels and Productivity Change Under Unionism

  • Steven G. Allen

This paper examines how unions affect the rate of productivity change over time. The direction of union impact cannot be predicted from economic theory. Firms may tend to select more productive technologies to offset the cost of higher union wages or they may tend to select less productive technologies to keep union wage demands in line. Evidence from manufacturing indicates that unions have not affected productivity growth, but in the construction industry productivity growth has been much slower in areas where there is a high initial level of unionization or where unionization is growing.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2304.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2304.

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Date of creation: Jul 1987
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Publication status: published as "Productivity Levels & Productivity Change Under Unionism." From Industrial Relations, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 94-113, (Winter 1988).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2304
Note: LS
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  1. Zvi Griliches & Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1984. "R&D and Productivity Growth at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 465-502 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Connolly, Robert A & Hirsch, Barry T & Hirschey, Mark, 1986. "Union Rent Seeking, Intangible Capital, and Market Value of the Firm," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 567-77, November.
  3. Baldwin, Carliss Y, 1983. "Productivity and Labor Unions: An Application of the Theory of Self-Enforcing Contracts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 155-85, April.
  4. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-12, December.
  5. Kim B. Clark & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Productivity Growth and R&D at the Business Level: Results from the PIMS Data Base," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 393-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-73, December.
  7. Wayne B. Gray, 1984. "The Impact of OSHA and EPA Regulation on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 1405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Boddy, Raford & Gort, Michael, 1971. "The Substitution of Capital for Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(2), pages 179-88, May.
  9. Nelson, Richard R, 1981. "Research on Productivity Growth and Productivity Differences: Dead Ends and New Departures," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1029-64, September.
  10. Frederic Scherer, 1984. "Using Linked Patent and R&D Data to Measure Interindustry Technology Flows," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 417-464 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Allen, Steven G, 1984. "Unionized Construction Workers Are More Productive," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 251-74, May.
  12. Terleckyj, Nestor E, 1980. "What Do R & D Numbers Tell Us about Technological Change?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 55-61, May.
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