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What effect do unions have on wages now and would Freeman and Medoff be surprised?

Blanchflower D & Bryson A (2004) What effect do unions have on wages now and would Freeman and Medoff be surprised?. Journal of Labor Research, 25 (3), pp. 383-414.

First  paragraph: Richard Freeman and James Medoff's (F&M) pathbreaking 1984 book What Do Unions Do? has had an enormous impact. According to Orley Ashenfelter, one of the commentators in a review symposium on the book published in January 1985 in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the response of the popular press to the book "has only been short of breathtaking" (p. 245). It received rave reviews at the time it was written and unlike most books has withstood the test of time. It is certainly the most famous book in labor economics and industrial relations. One of the other reviewers in the symposium, Dan Mitchell called it "a landmark in social science research" and so it has proved (p. 253). We went to the Social Science Citations Index and typed in "What do unions do" (hereinafter WDUD) and found that it had been cited by other academics more than one thousand times. Herein we show that the vast majority of their commentary written in the early 1980s is still highly applicable despite the fact that private sector unionization has been in precipitous decline. An old adage is that a classic book is one that everyone talks about but nobody reads. F&M's work is not one of those. It is a true classic because it continues to be a book that anyone -- scholar or layman -- interested in labor unions needs to read!

Journal of Labor Research: Volume 25, Issue 3

Author(s)Blanchflower, David; Bryson, Alex
Publication date30/06/2004
PublisherSpringer Verlag
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