This paper summarizes the results of nearly a dozen new papers presented at the Sundance Conference on Monopsony in Labor Markets held in October 2018. These papers, to be published as a special issue of the Journal of Human Resources, study various aspects of monopsony and failures of competition in labor markets. It also reports on the new developments in public policies associated with widespread concerns about labor market competition and efforts to ameliorate competitive failures. The conference papers range from studies of the labor supply elasticity individual firms face to studies of local labor market concentration to studies of explicit covenants suppressing labor market competition. New policies range from private and public antitrust litigation to concerns about the effect of mergers and inter-firm agreements on labor market competition. We provide a detailed discussion of the mechanics of the Silicon Valley High Tech Worker conspiracy to suppress competition based on Court documents in the case. Non-compete agreements, which are not enforceable in three states already, have also come under scrutiny.
We test for the presence of an addictive effect of arbitration
(positive state dependence) using data both from a laboratory bargaining
experiment and from the field. We find no evidence of state dependence in
the experimental data, and we find weak evidence of positive state dependence
in the field data on teachers in British Columbia. Hence, we reject the view
that use of arbitration per se leads to state dependence either through
reducing uncertainty about the arbitral process or through changing the
bargaining parties perceptions about their opponents. The results further
suggest that an explanation for any positive state dependence we find in the
British Columbia field data must lie in an aspect of the arbitration process
which is not captured by our simple experimental design.
The central claim of a rapidly growing literature in international relations is that members
of pairs of democratic states are much less likely to engage each other in war or in serious
disputes short of war than are members of other pairs of states.
Our analysis does not support this claim. Instead, we ﬁnd that the dispute rate between
democracies is lower than is that of other country pairs only after World War H. Before 1914
and between the World Wars, there is no difference between the war rates of members of
democratic pairs of states and those of members of other pairs of states. We also find that there
is a higher incidence of serious disputes short of war between democracies than between
nondemocracies before 1914.
We attribute this cross-temporal variation in dispute rates to changes in patterns of
common and conflicting interests across time. We use alliances as an indicator of common
interests to show that cross-temporal variation in dispute rates conforms to variations in interest
patterns for two of the three time periods in our sample.
Multiple studies find that plaintiffs who lose at trial and subsequently appeal are less successful on appeal than are losing defendants who appeal. The studies attribute this to a perception by appellate judges that trial courts are biased in favor of plaintiffs. However, at least two alternative explanations exist. First, losing plaintiffs may appeal at higher rates independent of the potential merits. Second, if plaintiffs tend to pursue to trial lawsuits where they should win on the merits less than half the time, then errors at trial will be more likely to adversely affect defendants. This study revisits the analysis of the appellate process with a theoretical model that has implications not only for appellate outcomes but for the rate of appeal. By tying together win rates at trial, appeals rates, and success rates on appeal, the model can distinguish the competing explanations for differential appellate success rates. We estimate this model using matched data on Federal District Court trials and appeals to the U. S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. We provide evidence that the lower plaintiff success rate on appeal is due to plaintiffs' pursuing lawsuits where they should win on the merits (which we define to be an outcome that will not be reversed or remanded on appeal) less than half the time. We also provide evidence against explaining asymmetric success on appeal being attributable to trial courts favoring plaintiffs and evidence against juries being favorable to plaintiffs compared to judges.
The Great Recession from December 2007 to June 2009 is associated with a dramatic weakening of the labor market from which the labor market is now only slowly recovering. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high and durations of unemployment are unprecedentedly long. I use data from the Displaced Workers Survey (DWS) from 1984-2010 to investigate the incidence and
consequences of job loss from 1981-2009. In particular, the January 2010 DWS, which captures job loss during the 2007-2009 period, provides a window through which to examine the experience of job losers in the Great Recession and to compare their experience to that of earlier job losers. These data show a record high rate of job loss, with almost one in six workers reporting having lost a job in the 2007-2009 period. The consequences of job loss are also very serious during this period with very low rates of reemployment, difficulty finding full-time employment, and substantial earnings losses.
I focus on two aspects of Job loss. First, I examine evidence on the
incidence of job loss by worker and job characteristics including age,
education, race, sex, industry, and tenure over the period from 1982 to 1991.
Second, I examine the cost of job loss to workers in the form of 1) lower
post-displacement employment probabilities, 2) lower probabilities of
full-time employment for re—employed workers, and 3) lower earnings for
Using data from Displaced Workers Surveys (DWS) from 1984 through 1992
to study job loss from 1982-91, I find that older workers and more educated
workers are relatively more likely to suffer a job loss in the latter part of
this period. Additionally, job loss became more common in some important
service industries and relatively less common in manufacturing during the
latter part of the ten-year period studied.
Supplementing the DWS data with data from the outgoing rotation groups
of the Current Population Survey from 1982-1991, I find that displaced workers
are, relative to non-displaced workers, 1) less likely to be employed and 2)
more likely to be employed part-time conditional on being employed. These
effects seem to decline with time since displacement. There is no systematic
secular change in these costs of displacement, either in the aggregate or for
particular groups. Finally, I examine the earnings losses of full-time
re—employed displaced workers by comparing their earnings change with the
earnings change of full-time employed workers who were not displaced. I find,
consistent with what others have found, that these earnings losses are
Overall, the costs to displaced workers of job loss are substantial and
come in several forms. However, the public perception that the current
sluggish economy is worse than earlier downturns may reflect more who has lost
jobs recently rather than either increased overall job loss or increased costs
to those who are losing Jobs.
The public believes that job security has deteriorated dramatically in the United
States. In this study, I examine job durations from eight supplements to the Current
Population Survey (CPS) administered between 1973 and 1993 in order to determine
if, in fact, there has been a systematic change in the likelihood of long-term
employment. In order to measure changes in the distribution of job durations, I
examine changes in selected quantiles (the median and the 0.9 quantile) of the
distribution of duration of jobs in progress. I also examine selected points in the
cumulative distribution function including the fraction of workers who have been with
their employer 1) less than one year, 2) more than ten years, and 3) more than twenty
The central findings are clear. By the measures I examine, there has been no
systematic change in the overall distribution of job duration over the last two decades,
but the distribution of long-term jobs across the population has changed in two ways.
First, individuals, particularly men, with little education (less than twelve years) are
substantially less likely to be in long jobs today than they were twenty years ago.
Second, women with at least a high-school education are substantially more likely to
be in long jobs today than they were twenty years ago.