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Organized Labor and the Scope of International Specialization

  • Robert W. Staiger

This paper examines the interaction between union wages and the international pattern of production and trade. If union goods are heterogeneous in labor intensity, the introduction of an active union in the domestic country causes only the least labor-intensive range of union goods to be produced there, with goods of greatest labor intensity produced abroad due to the relatively high cost of domestic union Labor. A narrowing of the scope of domestic union production will eliminate relatively labor-intensive goods, leading a rent-maximizing union to raise its union premium. The implications of this union behavior for comparative statics results are considered.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2514.

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Date of creation: Feb 1988
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy. October, 1988.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2514
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  1. Diewert, W E, 1974. "The Effects of Unionization on Wages and Employment: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(3), pages 319-39, September.
  2. Freeman, Richard B & Medoff, James L, 1982. "Substitution between Production Labor and Other Inputs in Unionized and Nonunionized Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(2), pages 220-33, May.
  3. Paul Krugman, 1986. "Strategic Trade Policy and the New International Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262610450, June.
  4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "Trade Unions, Wages and Unemployment: What Can Simple Models Tell Us?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 526-45, November.
  5. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  6. R. Dornbusch & S. Fischer & P. A. Samuelson, 1976. "Comparative Advantage, Trade and Payments in a Ricardian Model With a Continuum of Goods," Working papers 178, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Freeman, Richard B & Medoff, James L, 1981. "The Impact of the Percentage Organized on Union and Nonunion Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 561-72, November.
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