Product Market Competition, Union Organizing Activity, and Employer Resistence
41 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2000 Last revised: 1 Sep 2010
Date Written: May 1990
We develop and estimate a model of the union's optimal extent oforganizing activity that accounts for the decision of employers regardingresistance to union organizing. The central exogenous variable in theanalysis is the quantity of quasi-rents per worker available to be splitbetween unions and employers.We measure available quasi-rents per worker as the difference perworker between total industry revenues net of raw materials costs and laborcosts evaluated at the opportunity cost of the workers. Using two-digitindustry level data for thirty-five U.S. industries for the period 1955through 1986, we find that both organizing activity and employer resistanceto unionization are positively related to available quasi-rents per worker.However, there is still a strong negative trend in union organizing activityand a strong positive trend in employer resistance after controlling forquasi-rents per worker. Thus, the explanation for the decline in unionorganizing activity and the increase in employer resistance to unionizationsince the mid 1970's lies elsewhere.
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