New post at policy shop. Excerpt:
A compelling new study out in the American Sociological Review pins the cause quite convincingly on the erosion of union power in the face of computerization. Tali Kristal, the author of the study, looks beyond the overall declining share of labor income and into specific sectors of the economy to find out which sector’s workers have taken the biggest hit. The result was stark: labor’s share declined much more dramatically in core unionized sectors like construction, manufacturing, and transportation than non-unionized sectors like the service industry.
Even as computerization swept across and affected all industries, only the heavily unionized ones saw the deep declines in labor’s income share. From this, the author concludes that collapsing union power is the likely cause of labor’s declining share of income, and that computerization contributed only indirectly insofar as it helped weaken unions in the core union sectors.