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The Effect of Collective Bargaining Legislation on Strikes and Wages

  • Peter C. Cramton
  • Morley Gunderson
  • Joseph S. Tracy

Using Canadian data on large, private-sector contract negotiations from January 1967 to March 1993, we find that wages and strikes are substantially influenced by labor policy. In particular, we find that prohibiting the use of replacement workers during strikes is associated with significantly higher wages, and more frequent and longer strikes. This is consistent with private information theories of bargaining. We estimate the welfare consequences of a ban on replacement workers, as well as other labor policies. Despite the higher dispute costs, union workers are better off with a ban on replacement workers. The higher wage more than compensates for the more frequent and longer strikes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5105.

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Date of creation: May 1995
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Publication status: published as Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 81, no.3 (August 1999),pp.475-487.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5105
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  1. Card, David & Olson, Craig A, 1995. "Bargaining Power, Strike Durations, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 32-61, January.
  2. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1989. "Strategic Bargaining Models and Interpretation of Strike Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages S87-130, Supplemen.
  3. Peter Cramton & Joseph S. Tracy, 1994. "Wage Bargaining with Time-Varying Threats," Papers of Peter Cramton 94jolew, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  4. Reder, Melvin W & Neumann, George R, 1980. "Conflict and Contract: The Case of Strikes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 867-86, October.
  5. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1993. "Bargaining with Private Information," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 45-104, March.
  6. Morley Gunderson & John Kervin & Frank Reid, 1989. "The Effect of Labour Relations Legislation on Strike Incidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(4), pages 779-94, November.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Johnson, George E, 1969. "Bargaining Theory, Trade Unions, and Industrial Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 35-49, March.
  8. Cynthia L. Gramm, 1986. "The Determinants of Strike Incidence and Severity: A Micro-Level Study," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(3), pages 361-376, April.
  9. Tracy, Joseph S, 1987. "An Empirical Test of an Asymmetric Information Model of Strikes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(2), pages 149-73, April.
  10. Peter C. Cramton, 1992. "Strategic Delay in Bargaining with Two-Sided Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 205-225.
  11. David Card & Craig A. Olson, 1992. "Bargaining Power, Strike Durations, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," Working Papers 674, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  12. repec:fth:prinin:294 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Currie, Janet & McConnell, Sheena, 1991. "Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector: The Effect of Legal Structure on Dispute Costs and Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 693-718, September.
  14. Peter Cramton & Joseph S. Tracy, 1994. "The Determinants of U.S. Labor Disputes," Papers of Peter Cramton 94jole, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  15. Gunderson, Morley & Kervin, John & Reid, Frank, 1986. "Logit Estimates of Strike Incidence from Canadian Contract Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 257-76, April.
  16. Card, David, 1988. "Longitudinal Analysis of Strike Activity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 147-76, April.
  17. Vroman, Susan B, 1989. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Strike Activity in U.S. Manufacturing: 1957-1984," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 816-26, September.
  18. Farber, Henry S, 1978. "Bargaining Theory, Wage Outcomes, and the Occurrence of Strikes: An Econometric Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 262-71, June.
  19. Harrison, Alan & Stewart, Mark, 1989. "Cyclical Fluctuations in Strike Durations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 827-41, September.
  20. Peter Cramton & Joseph S. Tracy, 1992. "Strikes and Holdouts in Wage Bargaining: Theory and Data," Papers of Peter Cramton 92aer, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  21. McConnell, Sheena, 1989. "Strikes, Wages, and Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 801-15, September.
  22. Hayes, Beth, 1984. "Unions and Strikes with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 57-83, January.
  23. Budd, J.W., 1993. "Canadian Strike Replacement Legislation and Collective Bargainig : Lessons for United States," Papers 93-08, Minnesota - Industrial Relations Center.
  24. D. A. L. Auld & L. N. Christofides & R. Swidinsky & D. A. Wilton, 1981. "The Effect of Settlement Stage on Negotiated Wage Settlements in Canada," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(2), pages 234-244, January.
  25. Christofides, Louis N & Swidinsky, Robert & Wilton, David A, 1980. "A Microeconometric Analysis of Spillovers within the Canadian Wage Determination Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 213-21, May.
  26. Kennan, John, 1985. "The duration of contract strikes in U.S. manufacturing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 5-28, April.
  27. Tracy, Joseph S, 1986. "An Investigation into the Determinants of U.S. Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 423-36, June.
  28. Oliver Hart, 1989. "Bargaining and Strikes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(1), pages 25-43.
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