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Why American Older Workers Have Lost Bargaining Power

Teresa Ghilarducci () and Aida Farmand ()

No 2019-02, SCEPA working paper series. from Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School

Abstract: The bargaining power of workers cannot be measured directly, but it can be inferred from working conditions and institutional factors. This study documents the stagnation in older workers' wages and the seven reasons older workers have lost bargaining power. Five factors relate to monopsony exposure from eroding retirement income security, union loss, more insecure employment relationships, persistent age discrimination, and geographical immobility. Two additional factors -- older workers' ineligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and older workers' relative propensity to work for smaller firms – also weaken bargaining power. Significant loss of bargaining power of workers over age 55 who are projected to fill 6.4 million of the 11.4 million net new jobs created between 2016 and 2026 could suppress wages and working conditions for all workers.

Keywords: working conditions; wages; bargaining power (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J50 J58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age, nep-hme and nep-lab
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