Does Individualizing the Labor Contract Hurt Women? By: Cahen, Claire. Industrial Relations. Jul2019, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p317-375. 59p.

The twenty‐first century has been marked by a retreat of the collective bargaining rights of public employees throughout the United States. This study exploits the variation in legal environments resulting from these reforms to estimate the causal impact of different collective bargaining policies on public employee compensation. Using data from the American Community Survey, results show a modest wage penalty at the aggregate level for employees covered by constraints on collective bargaining. However, this wage penalty is differential and is concentrated on women in all but one case—a legal environment in which collective bargaining over wages has either been prohibited or directly constricted, allowing governments to periodically institute wage freezes and caps on raises for public employees. In this case, a pre‐existing wage gap in which men earned more than women is disappearing as male and female earnings converge at a lower wage. The paper suggests that the long‐term effects of restricting collective bargaining occur through the individualization of the labor contract and should be examined along individual‐level characteristics, such as gender.