Home > Events & News > Brown Bag Schedule . Archive

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Thompson says America must "unchoose" policies that have led to mass incarceration

Axinn says new data on campus rape will "allow students to see for themselves the full extent of this problem"

Frey says white population is growing in Detroit and other large cities


Susan Murphy to speak at U-M kickoff for data science initiative, Oct 6, Rackham

Andrew Goodman-Bacon, former trainee, wins 2015 Nevins Prize for best dissertation in economic history

Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 5 at noon, 6050 ISR
Colter Mitchell: Biological consequences of poverty

psc brown bag iconUnions, Norms and the Rise in American Earnings Inequality

Bruce Western (Department of Sociology and Director of the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government;, Harvard University)

01/11/2010, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

cosponsored by National Poverty Center, University of Michigan


From 1972 to 2006, union membership among U.S. men working full-time in private-sector jobs declined from 33 to less than 10 percent. Inequality in men’s hourly wages earnings increased by 40 percent in this same period. We study the effect deunionization on rising inequality, with a variance decomposition that accounts for how unions raise average earnings and also reduce inequality in earnings among union workers. Going beyond earlier research, we also argue, that unions reduce inequality by establishing norms for fair wages, reducing the dispersion of wages in the nonunion sector. Accounting for the effect of unions on the wages of union members and the effect of unions on nonunion wage norms suggests that union decline explains one third of the growth in inequality—an effect equal to the growing stratification of earnings by education.

  View All