The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S

62 Pages Posted: 12 May 2012 Last revised: 7 Jun 2012

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: May 2012

Abstract

Union membership displayed a ∩-shaped pattern over the 20th century, while the distribution of income sketched a ∪. A model of unions is developed to analyze these phenomena. There is a distribution of firms in the economy. Firms hire capital, plus skilled and unskilled labor. Unionization is a costly process. A union decides how many firms to organize and its members' wage rate. Simulation of the developed model establishes that skilled-biased technological change, which affects the productivity of skilled labor relative to unskilled labor, can potentially explain the above facts. Statistical analysis suggests that skill-biased technological change is an important factor in de-unionization.

Suggested Citation

Dinlersoz, Emin and Greenwood, Jeremy, The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S (May 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18079. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2056707

Emin Dinlersoz (Contact Author)

Center for Economic Studies - US Census Bureau ( email )

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Jeremy Greenwood

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

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