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The Determinants of U.S. Labor Disputes

We present a bargaining model of union contract negotiations, in which the union decides between two threats: the union can strike or continue to work under the expired contract. The model makes predictions about the level of dispute activity and the form the disputes take. Strike incidence increases as the strike threat becomes more attractive, because of low unemployment or a real wage drop during the prior contract. We test these predictions by estimating logistic models of dispute incidence and dispute composition for U.S. labor contract negotiations from 1970 to 1989. We find empirical support for the model's key predictions, but these associations are weaker after 1981.

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File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers1990-1994/94jole-determinants-of-us-labor-disputes.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton in its series Papers of Peter Cramton with number 94jole.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 1994
Date of revision: 09 Jun 1998
Publication status: Published in Journal of Labor Economics, 12:2, April 1994, pages 180-209.
Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:94jole
Contact details of provider: Postal: Economics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7211
Phone: (202) 318-0520
Fax: (202) 318-0520
Web page: http://www.cramton.umd.edu

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  1. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  2. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, August.
  3. Card, David, 1990. "Strikes and Bargaining: A Survey of the Recent Empirical Literature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 410-15, May.
  4. Cramton, Peter C & Tracy, Joseph S, 1992. "Strikes and Holdouts in Wage Bargaining: Theory and Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 100-121, March.
  5. 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.
  6. McConnell, Sheena, 1989. "Strikes, Wages, and Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 801-15, September.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Michael L. Wachter & William H. Carter, 1989. "Norm Shifts in Union Wages: Will 1989 Be a Replay of 1969?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(2), pages 233-276.
  10. Admati, Anat R & Perry, Motty, 1987. "Strategic Delay in Bargaining," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 345-64, July.
  11. John M. Abowd & Joseph S. Tracy, 1988. "Market Structure, Strike Activity, and Union Wage Settlements," NBER Working Papers 2595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1990. "The Internationalization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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