The Effects of Davis-Bacon on Labor Cost and Union Wages

June 1986
Journal of Labor Research;Summer86, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p239
Academic Journal
Two issues have seriously hampered studies of the impact of the Davis-Bacon Act. The first is that one must make assumptions about what the distribution of wages would be in the absence of the statute. It is shown that cost estimates are quite sensitive to these assumptions. The second is that while Davis-Bacon determinations may increase nonunion wages, they are also likely to increase the bargaining power of unions leading to higher union wages. Simply estimating the impact on nonunion wages therefore underestimates the true effect. Union wages are both determined by and a determinant of Davis-Bacon wages. It is found that Davis-Bacon determinations exert a significant influence on the union's ability to gain higher wages.


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