The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S.

62 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012 Last revised: 13 Jun 2013

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: June 1, 2013

Abstract

Union membership in U.S. displayed a ∩-shaped pattern over the 20th century, while in- come inequality sketched a ∪. A model of unions is developed to analyze this phenomenon. 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 above facts. Statistical analysis suggests that skill-biased technological change is an important factor in deunionization.

Keywords: Distribution of Income, Flexible Manufacturing, Income Inequality, Mass Production, Numerically Controlled Machines, Relative Price of New Equipment, Skill-Biased Technological Change, Simulation Analysis, Union Coverage, Union Membership, De-unionization

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

Suggested Citation

Dinlersoz, Emin and Greenwood, Jeremy, The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S. (June 1, 2013). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-12-12R. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2097824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2097824

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
41
Abstract Views
461
PlumX Metrics