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The rise and fall of unions in the United States

Emin Dinlersoz () and Jeremy Greenwood

Journal of Monetary Economics, 2016, vol. 83, issue C, 129-146

Abstract: Union membership in the United States displayed a ∩-shaped pattern over the 20th century, while income inequality sketched a ∪. A model of unions is developed to analyze these facts. 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 observed paths for union membership and income inequality.

Keywords: Mass production; Computer age; Skill-biased technological change; Income inequality; Union membership (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Working Paper: The Rise and Fall of Unions in the United States (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: The Rise and Fall of Unions in the United States (2012) Downloads
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