EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Labor Market Institutions in the Gilded Age of American Economic History

Suresh Naidu and Noam Yuchtman

No 22117, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Although 19th century American labor markets were unencumbered by regulatory legislation, labor market institutions played an active role determining labor market outcomes and the distribution of income. We provide evidence of firm-specific rents in 19th century labor markets: employees in firms experiencing positive output price shocks earned significant wage premia, relative to very similar workers. Employees and employers bargained over rents in the labor contract, with workers striking to raise wages. We present data on strikes' frequency in the 19th century, and suggestive correlations between strikes and wages. The U.S. government supported employers in limiting strikes' efficacy. Strike-breaking actions included intervention by police and militia; employers often relied on less drastic, but still effective, judicial labor injunctions suppressing strikes. We document the rise of these injunctions, pointing to the important role played by the judicial branch in structuring (Northern) American labor market institutions prior to the rise of legislative regulation.

JEL-codes: N3 O10 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-lab
Date: 2016-03
Note: DAE DEV LS POL
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.nber.org/papers/w22117.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22117

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.nber.org/papers/w22117

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2018-06-11
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22117