Union membership, economic rents, and migration behavior

Ernst Goss, Chris Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study represents an extension of the human capital paradigm as it relates to an individual's decision to migrate. It differs from previous studies by incorporating union membership, a labor market variable, into the model. In effect, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 granted a monopoly bargaining position to unions. The theoretical implication of a union's monopoly bargaining position is that union wage levels will increase relative to nonunion wages. The increase of relative wages results in union membership granting a property right that possesses positive net present value and hence reduces an employed union member's probability of migrating. Additionally, the supra-competitive remuneration of union members results in a surplus of labor supplied to union firms. Employers respond by using quality screening to hire workers from the larger labor pool. As a result, unemployed union members will on average possess higher levels of human capital, which will increase their probability of migrating above that of their unemployed nonunion cohorts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Labor Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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