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  • Why would a boom town need charity? Inequities in Saskatchewan’s oil boom and bust May 23, 2018
    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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      The week of May 1st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' National Office moved to 141 Laurier Ave W, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON, K1P 5J2. Please note that our phone, fax and general e-mail will remain the same: Telephone: 613-563-1341 | Fax: 613-233-1458 | Email: ccpa@policyalternatives.ca  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
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    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Unions and Inequality

 

An important paper by Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld which is forthcoming in the American Journal of Sociology finds that the decline in private sector union density in the US  (from 34% to 8% for men, and from 16% to 6% for women) explains one fifth to one third of the increase in inequality of hourly earnings over the period 1973 to 2007. This shows declining union density to be a much greater causal factor than most studies have found.

The novel contribution of the authors is to show empirically through a sophisticated quantitative analysis that a fall from high to lower union density in industrial/regional clusters is associated with rising  levels of wage inequality among non union workers in those clusters.

The path from strong unions to greater equality among non union workers likely runs through two channels. The first is fear, non union employers in a strong union environment will pay higher wages to lower paid workers in order to avoid unionization. The second and likely stronger channel is norms. Strong unions establish norms of fair wage differences between management and workers and between groups of workers which spill over into the non union sector.

 

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Comment from Nick Falvo
Time: October 31, 2012, 4:24 pm

For anyone trying to track this down, it’s actually in the American Sociological Review. Vol. 76, No. 4. 2011.

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