Unions, Norms, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality

  title={Unions, Norms, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality},
  author={Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld},
  journal={American Sociological Review},
  pages={513 - 537}
From 1973 to 2007, private sector union membership in the United States declined from 34 to 8 percent for men and from 16 to 6 percent for women. During this period, inequality in hourly wages increased by over 40 percent. We report a decomposition, relating rising inequality to the union wage distribution’s shrinking weight. We argue that unions helped institutionalize norms of equity, reducing the dispersion of nonunion wages in highly unionized regions and industries. Accounting for unions… Expand

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