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The Determination of the Union Status of Workers

Listed author(s):
  • Farber, Henry S
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    A model of the determination of the union status of workers is developed that incorporates the separate decisions of workers and potential union employers in a framework which recognises the possibility of an excess supply of workers for existing union jobs. This theoreticak framework results in an empirical problem of partial observability because information on union status is not sufficient to determine whether nounion workers are nounion because they do not desire union representation or because they were not hired by union employers despite a preference for union representation. The problem is solved by using data from the Quality of Employment Survey that have a unique piece of information on worker preferences which allows identification and estimation of the model. The empirical results yield some interesting insights into the process of union status determination that cannoot be gained from a simple logit or probit analysis of unionization. Chief among these relate to the unionization of nonwhites and southerners. The well-known fact that nonwhites are more likely to be unionized than otherwise equivalent whites is found largely to be due to a greater demand for union representation on the part of nonwhite workers. The equally well-known lower propensity to be unionized among southern workers is found to be due to a combination of a lower demand for union presentation on the part of southern workers and a supply of union jobs is more constrained relative to demand than in the North.

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    Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 227.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 1982
    Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:227
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