The Rise and Fall of Unions in the United States

58 Pages Posted: 8 May 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2016

See all articles by Emin Dinlersoz

Emin Dinlersoz

Center for Economic Studies - US Census Bureau

Jeremy Greenwood

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 6, 2016

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.

Keywords: Mass Production, Computer Age, Skill-Biased Technological Change, Income Inequality, Union Membership

JEL Classification: J51, J24, L23, L11, L16, O14, O33

Suggested Citation

Dinlersoz, Emin and Greenwood, Jeremy, The Rise and Fall of Unions in the United States (August 6, 2016). Journal of Monetary Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2054957 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2054957

Emin Dinlersoz (Contact Author)

Center for Economic Studies - US Census Bureau ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States

Jeremy Greenwood

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-1505 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://jeremygreenwood.net

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
67
Abstract Views
726
rank
218,486
PlumX Metrics