One of the most prominent features of U.S. unionism is the key role played by seniority. However, in cross-sectional data, the positive association between seniority and earnings is typically much stronger for nonunion workers than for union workers. This finding has puzzled previous researchers, since it seems inconsistent with the generalization that seniority is more important in the union sector than in the nonunion sector.
Returns to Seniority in Union and Nonunion Jobs: A New Look at the EvidenceK. Abraham and H.S. Farber ,
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Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 42(1):3-19.