IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9973.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Effect do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would 'What Do Unions Do' Be Surprised?

Author

Listed:
  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Alex Bryson

Abstract

We explore the various claims made by Freeman and Medoff (FM) in their famous book What do unions do? about the impact of unions on wages and update them with new and better data. The main findings are as follows. 1) Private sector union wage premium is lower today than it was in the 1970s. 2) The union wage premium is counter-cyclical. 3) There is evidence of a secular decline in the private sector union wage premium. 4) There remains big variation in the premium across workers. 5) There is big variation in industry-level union wage premia. 6) State level union wage premia vary less than occupation and industry level premia. 7) Union workers remain better able than non-union workers to resist employer efforts to reduce wages when market conditions are unfavorable. 8) There has been a decline in the unadjusted wage gap relative to the regression-adjusted wage gap. 9) Public sector wage effects are large and similar to those in the private sector.

Suggested Citation

  • David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2003. "What Effect do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would 'What Do Unions Do' Be Surprised?," NBER Working Papers 9973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9973
    Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9973.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bernt Bratsberg & James F. Ragan Jr., 2002. "Changes in the Union Wage Premium by Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 65-83, October.
    2. Barry T. Hirsch, 2004. "Reconsidering Union Wage Effects: Surveying New Evidence on an Old Topic," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(2), pages 233-266, April.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1999. "Do Unions Make Enterprises Insolvent?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 510-527, July.
    4. David Blanchflower, 1996. "The Role and Influence of Trade Unions in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0310, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    6. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    7. Richard B. Freeman & Karen Needels, 1993. "Skill Differentials in Canada in an Era of Rising Labor Market Inequality," NBER Chapters,in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 45-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Staiger, Robert W, 1988. "Organized Labor and the Scope of International Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1022-1047, October.
    9. Colin Lawrence & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1985. "Manufacturing Wage Dispersion: An End Game Interpretation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 47-116.
    10. Henry S. Farber, 2001. "Notes on the Economics of Labor Unions," Working Papers 831, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Henry S. Farber, 2001. "Notes on the Economics of Labor Unions," Working Papers 831, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    12. Richard B. Freeman & Casey Ichniowski, 1988. "When Public Sector Workers Unionize," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free88-1.
    13. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 1998. "Unions, Wages, and Skills," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 201-219.
    14. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
    15. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-979, July.
    16. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1.
    17. C. Jeffrey Waddoups, 2000. "Unions and Wages in Nevada's Hotel-Casino Industry," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 21(2), pages 345-361, April.
    18. repec:fth:prinin:452 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2008. "What Do Japanese Unions Do for Productivity?: An Empirical Analysis Using Firm-Level Data," Discussion papers 08027, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Mathieu Bunel & Gilles Raveaud, 2012. "Union Membership does not pay: Evidence from recent French Micro Data," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201232, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    3. Stennek, Johan, 2012. "Why Unions Reduce Wage Inequality, I - A Theory of Domino Effects," Working Papers in Economics 539, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2015.
    4. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "The Union Wage Premium in the US and the UK," CEP Discussion Papers dp0612, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2008. "The Use of Informal Networks in Italian Labor Markets: Efficiency or Favoritisms?," MPRA Paper 11764, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2010. "The use of informal networks in Italy: Efficiency or favoritism?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 89-99, January.
    7. Mathieu Bunel & Gilles Raveaud, 2011. "Union Membership does not pay," Working Papers halshs-00868217, HAL.
    8. Töngür, Ünal & Elveren, Adem Yavuz, 2014. "Deunionization and pay inequality in OECD Countries: A panel Granger causality approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 417-425.
    9. Joel Waldfogel, 2016. "Faculty Preferences over Unionization: Evidence from Open Letters at Two Research Universities," NBER Working Papers 22149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9973. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.