Principles of Economics- Mankiw (5th) 576

Principles of Economics- Mankiw (5th) 576 - whole. Lets...

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594 PART NINE THE REAL ECONOMY IN THE LONG RUN Legislation affecting the market power of unions is a perennial topic of politi- cal debate. State lawmakers sometimes debate right-to-work laws, which give work- ers in a unionized firm the right to choose whether to join the union. In the absence of such laws, unions can insist during collective bargaining that firms make union membership a requirement for employment. In recent years, lawmakers in Wash- ington have debated a proposed law that would prevent firms from hiring perma- nent replacements for workers who are on strike. This law would make strikes more costly for firms and, thereby, would increase the market power of unions. These and similar policy decisions will help determine the future of the union movement. ARE UNIONS GOOD OR BAD FOR THE ECONOMY? Economists disagree about whether unions are good or bad for the economy as a
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Unformatted text preview: whole. Lets consider both sides of the debate. Critics of unions argue that unions are merely a type of cartel. When unions raise wages above the level that would prevail in competitive markets, they reduce the quantity of labor demanded, cause some workers to be unemployed, and re-duce the wages in the rest of the economy. The resulting allocation of labor is, crit-ics argue, both inefficient and inequitable. It is inefficient because high union wages reduce employment in unionized firms below the efficient, competitive level. It is inequitable because some workers benefit at the expense of other workers. Gentlemen, nothing stands in the way of a final accord except that management wants profit maximization and the union wants more moola....
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