Union Relative Wage Effects: New Evidence and a Survey of their Implications for Wage Inflation

by Orley Ashenfelter on May 1, 1976
by Orley Ashenfelter

The measurement of any excess of the wage rate of union workers over nonunion workers no longer stimulates much controversy in the U.S. The measurement methods have been standardized and there is now a broad consensus on how these union wage effects have moved over time and even how they differ as between black and white or male and female workers. This end to controversy has undoubtedly resulted for a variety of reasons: For one thing, as George Johnson has remarked, the mere existence of trade unions is no longer a serious question of public policy. In addition, the quality of the measurement devices and of the microeconomic data available
to researchers has made it possible to eliminate some of the ambiguity of measurement present in the earliest studies…

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