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The Changing Size Distribution of U.S. Trade Unions and Its Description by Pareto's Distribution

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  • John Pencavel

    () (Stanford University)

Abstract

The size distribution of trade unions in the United States and changes in this distribution are documented. Because the most profound changes are taking place among very large unions, these are subject to special analysis by invoking Pareto’s distribution. This represents a new application of this distribution. Extensions to trade union wealth and to Britain are broached. The role of the public sector in these changes receives particular attention. A simple model helps account both for the logarithmic distribution of union membership and for the contrasting experiences of public and private sector unions since the 1970s.

Suggested Citation

  • John Pencavel, 2013. "The Changing Size Distribution of U.S. Trade Unions and Its Description by Pareto's Distribution," Discussion Papers 12-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:12-011
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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/12-011.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chipman, John S., 1974. "The welfare ranking of Pareto distributions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 275-282, November.
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    7. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2011. "Rank - 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade union membership; public sector unions; Pareto’s distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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