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Individual Rights and Collective Agents: The Role of Old and New Workplace Institution in the Regulation of Labor Markets

  • David Weil
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    Implementation of workplace policies--whether through enforcement of laws or administration of programs--raises the question of the interaction between institutions created to carry out laws and the activities of workplace based agents that directly (e.g. unions) or indirectly (e.g. insurance companies) represent the interests of workers. This paper argues that there are two distinctive roles required for agents in the implementation of workplace policies. First, the agent must somehow help solve the public goods problem inherent in workplace regulation. Second, the agent must be able to reduce the marginal cost of exercising rights conferred to workers that are an important feature of most regulatory programs. This article examines these issues in regard to implementing workplace policies in the U.S. and analyzes the comparative effectiveness of different workplace agents- from labor unions to alternative dispute resolution systems- in fulfilling these roles.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9565.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9565.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2003
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    Publication status: published as David Weil, 2004. "Individual Rights and Collective Agents. The Role of Old and New Workplace Institutions in the Regulation of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 13-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9565
    Note: LS
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    1. Viscusi, W Kip & O'Connor, Charles J, 1984. "Adaptive Responses to Chemical Labeling: Are Workers Bayesian Decision Makers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 942-56, December.
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    3. Butler, Richard J & Worrall, John D, 1983. "Workers' Compensation: Benefit and Injury Claims Rates in the Seventies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 580-89, November.
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    5. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1989. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," NBER Working Papers 2871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1985. "The effect of unions on the employment of blacks, hispanics, and women," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(1), pages 115-132, October.
    7. Kimberly Ann. Elliott & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "White Hats or Don Quixotes? Human Rights Vigilantes in the Global Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 47-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. MacPherson & J. Michael Dumond, 1997. "Workers' Compensation recipiency in union and nonunion workplaces," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(2), pages 213-236, January.
    9. John T. Addison & McKinley L. Blackburn, 1994. "The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act: Effects on Notice Provision," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 650-662, July.
    10. Trejo, Stephen J, 1991. "The Effects of Overtime Pay Regulation on Worker Compensation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 719-40, September.
    11. John T. Addison & McKinley L. Blackburn, 1994. "The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 181-190, Winter.
    12. Reilly, Barry & Pierella Paci & Peter Holl, 1994. "Unions, safety committees and workplace injuries," Discussion Papers in Economics 2/94, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    13. Joel Rogers, 1995. "United States: Lessons from Abroad and Home," NBER Chapters, in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 375-410 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. John W. Budd & Brian P. McCall, 1997. "The Effect of Unions on the Receipt of Unemployment Insurance Benefits," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 478-492, April.
    15. Richard B. Freeman & Joni Hersch & Lawrence Mishel, 2004. "Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free04-1, Abril.
    16. George J. Stigler, 1974. "Free Riders and Collective Action: An Appendix to Theories of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 359-365, Autumn.
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