Saturday, April 17, 2010

Housing Policy and Labor Bargaining Power

. Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm starting a new research project on how foreign direct investment affects the collective action problems labor faces in developing countries. So, of course my ears are tuned to anything related to centralized wage bargaining. Felix Salmon was on NPR this evening discussing a recent Fannie Mae housing survey on Americans' opinion on home ownership. Salmon's main point is that home ownership makes labor less mobile and that this is bad for efficient markets as well as for individuals' wages. This made me wonder if there has been much political science research on housing policy and centralized wage bargaining. A quick google search turned up nothing.

It would be interesting to see if:
1) Pro-home ownership policies decrease union power
2) Pro-business groups actually lobby for pro-home ownership policies to decrease the ability of workers to collectively bargain

Such a dynamic would be particularly interesting given the strong rhetorical connections between pro-labor social welfare programs and tax policy and government subsidies that favor home ownership. Of course, I could also buy the logic that when labor becomes less mobile due to home ownership, workers are better able to overcome collective action problems because they do not have the option of moving to where there are higher wages. Thus, immobile workers may be more willing to bear the costs associated with centralized wage bargaining.

Anyone out there with some references to work on this subject?


Thomas Oatley said...

Did you search this:

You won't find much (if any) political science literature on it, cause the corporatism/wage bargaining lit was all focused on centralization's impact on macro outcomes.

Not obvious to me how you see politics fitting into your question?

Housing Policy and Labor Bargaining Power




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