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The Rise and Fall of Unions in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Emin Dinlersoz

    (Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Jeremy Greenwood

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Union membership in the United States displayed a ∩-shaped pattern over the 20th century, while income inequality sketched a ∪. A model of unions is developed to analyze these facts. There is a distribution of productivity across firms in the economy. Firms hire capital, plus skilled and unskilled labor. Unionization is a costly process. A union chooses how many firms to organize and the union wage. Simulation of the model establishes that skill-biased technological change, which affects the productivity of skilled labor relative to unskilled labor, can potentially explain the observed paths for union membership and income inequality.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood, 2016. "The Rise and Fall of Unions in the United States," RCER Working Papers 596, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  • Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:596
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    File URL: http://rcer.econ.rochester.edu/RCERPAPERS/rcer_596.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood & Henry Hyatt, 2014. "Who do Unions Target? Unionization over the Life-Cycle of U.S. Businesses," NBER Working Papers 20151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Krusell, Per & Rudanko, Leena, 2016. "Unions in a frictional labor market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 35-50.
    3. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2015. "Competition, work rules and productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 136-149.
    4. Song, Yang & Yang, Jidong & Yang, Qijing, 2016. "Do firms' political connections depress the union wage effect? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 183-198.
    5. Brändle, Tobias & Baumann, Florian, 2013. "Union Bargaining and Intra-Industry Productivity Differentials: Theory and Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79852, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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