The Effects of Deregulation, De-Unionization, Technology, and Human Capital on the Work and Work Lives of Truck Drivers
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, March 2001
Posted: 23 Sep 2001
The earnings of truck drivers fell by 21% between 1973 and 1995. Using Current Population Survey data, the authors find that deregulation accounted for one-third of the decline in drivers' wages, with a larger negative effect for non-union workers. Economic forces that broadly affected the blue-collar economy, proxied by the manufacturing wage, accounted for more than two-thirds of the decline. Finally, using unique survey data, the authors explore the effects of factors frequently cited as sources of blue-collar wage decline. This analysis indicates that only one new technology, satellite communication systems, had meaningful effects on drivers' earnings, which rose as a consequence of superior efficiency and work intensification. Union membership remains an important determinant of wages, with members earning 18% to 21% more than their non-union counterparts. The authors conclude that the primary sources of wage decline and increased wage inequality have been deregulation, de-unionization, and a declining manufacturing wage.
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