The Impact of Unions on the Labor Market for White and Minority Youth
37 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2004 Last revised: 27 Mar 2022
Date Written: February 1981
This paper presents estimates of the effects of unions on the wages of young black and white males who are both union and nonunion workers. It also presents estimates of union effects on employment for these groups, as well as their union membership rates. While unions have a very substantial, positive effect on the wages of young union workers, particularly for young blacks, they have a negative effect on the wages of young blacks who are not unionized. The effects of unions on employment are negative for both groups and especially for blacks. As for the relative access to unionized employment, young blacks within the labor force have membership rates that are roughly comparable to those of young whites. However, rates for young blacks appear to be somewhat lower after accounting for differences in rates of labor force participation between young blacks and whites. Young blacks also continue to be under-represented in the crafts and construction industries, which are heavily unionized, while being overrepresented in the relatively nonunionized, low-wage service sector. These results suggest that increasing the access of young blacks to unionized employment would improve their positions in the labor market.
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