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Relative Wages and the Radical Theory of Economic Segmentation

David L. Weakliem
American Sociological Review
Vol. 55, No. 4 (Aug., 1990), pp. 574-590
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095808
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Relative Wages and the Radical Theory of Economic Segmentation
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Abstract

The radical theory of economic segmentation holds that systems of labor control affect labor's capacity to pursue its interest. The system characteristic of the leading sectors of U.S. industry provides immediate benefits to workers at the cost of undermining their control over work and their ability to mobilize for collective action. The radical theory implies that the system initially increased wages but eventually led to a decline because of these long-term effects on control and organization. I examine wages in U.S. manufacturing industries between 1947 and 1987, first distinguishing groups of industries within which wages move together. Data on collective bargaining provisions are then used to verify that the resulting groups are related to systems of labor control. Regressions are fit for wage changes in each group and significant period differences are found in the core group. The pattern of parameter shifts supports the radical theory's predictions.

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