Estimating the Narcotic Effect of Public Sector Impasse Procedures
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Butler, Richard J.; Ehrenberg, Ronald G.
This paper first describes in a relatively nontechnical fashion several econometric techniques that the authors believe should be useful to industrial relations researchers. Those techniques are then applied to an analysis of whether public sector impasse procedures create a "narcotic effect," that is, a tendency for the bargaining parties, once they use the procedures, to become increasingly reliant on them in future negotiations. The authors reanalyze data from Thomas Kochan and Joan Baderschneider’s study of the impasse experience of police and firefighters under New York State’s Taylor Law during the 1968-76 period and find that while a narcotic effect did exist, as Kochan and Baderschneider argued, that relationship lasted only during the early years of the period and was actually reversed in later years. The authors conclude by explaining how such a pattern of results could occur, tracing the implications of their findings for public policy, and suggesting; other research questions that could be analyzed by the econometric methods they have described. (A comment by Kochan and Baderschneider follows this article.)
industrial relations; public sector; econometrics; bargaining procedures; “narcotic effect”; fire fighters
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