Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires

Posted: 8 Mar 2004  

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alexandre Mas

Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

This paper provides a case study of the effect of labor relations on product quality. We consider whether a long, contentious strike and the hiring of replacement workers at Bridgestone/Firestone's Decatur plant in the mid-1990s contributed to the production of defective tires. Using several independent data sources and looking before and after the strike and across plants, we find that labor strife at the Decatur plant closely coincided with lower product quality. Monthly data suggest that defects were particularly high around the time concessions were demanded and when large numbers of replacement workers and returning strikers worked side by side.

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Alan B. and Mas, Alexandre, Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 112, pp. 253-89, April 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=515083

Alan B. Krueger (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Alexandre Mas

Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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