PSC Working Paper Series

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Working Paper

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Dinlersoz, Emin and Jeremy Greenwood. 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S." Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, PSC Working Paper Series, PSC 12-02.


Union membership displayed a n-shaped pattern over the 20th century, while the distribution of income sketched a u. A model of unions is developed to analyze these phenomena. There is a distribution of firms in the economy. Firms hire capital, plus skilled and unskilled labor. Unionization is a costly process. A union decides how many firms to organize and its members wage rate. Simulation of the developed model establishes that skilled-biased technological change, which affects the productivity of skilled labor relative to unskilled labor, can potentially explain the above facts. Statistical analysis suggests that skill-biased technological change is an important factor in de-unionization.


Computers; Distribution of Income; Flexible Manufacturing; Mass Production; Nu- merically Controlled Machines; Panel-Data Regression Analysis; Relative Price of New Equipment; Skill-Biased Technological Change; Simulation Analysis; Union Coverage; Union Membership; De-unionization; Unions; Income; Wages



Date Posted: 15 May 2012