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Productivity Levels and Productivity Change Under Unionism

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  • Steven G. Allen

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven G. Allen, 1987. "Productivity Levels and Productivity Change Under Unionism," NBER Working Papers 2304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2304
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity Growth and R&D at the Business Level: Results from the PIMS Data Base," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 134-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    3. Wayne B. Gray, 1984. "The Impact of OSHA and EPA Regulation on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 1405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity Growth at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 213-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. 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 155-185, April.
    7. 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 567-577, November.
    8. 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.
    9. Boddy, Raford & Gort, Michael, 1971. "The Substitution of Capital for Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(2), pages 179-188, May.
    10. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-1112, December.
    11. Steven G. Allen, 1984. "Unionized Construction Workers are More Productive," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(2), pages 251-274.
    12. 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 1029-1064, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Askenazy & Eva Moreno Galbis, 2007. "The Impact of Technological and Organizational Changes on Labor Flows. Evidence on French Establishments," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(2), pages 265-301, June.

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