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Gordon, this is truly just silly drivel. Neither you nor the academics you so admire have any sense of history or of context. I wonder why unionization happened at more or less the same time at universities throughout Canada? Did a huge number of inferior academics suddenly graduate and decide, rather shrewdly, to usurp the position/wages of their higher quality colleagues? Or did the expansion of the late 1960's and early 1970's merely help build to a critical mass? When did you graduate by the way? There is also the issue of quality, which the article you cite merely indicates is derivative of nothing more than productivity.

And anarcho-syndicalist? Were you not such a bland and insignificant practitioner of mainstream fantasy you might find that academic freedom has in fact been under threat for some time. The structural conditions within and around the university have hemmed in a dominant ideology that is difficult if not impossible to circumnavigate. Your department works the way it does Stephen because you teach nothing more and nothing less than neoclassical economics that you are so want to believe is anything but. It is merely ironic that such would involve rhythms and practices you would associate with anything communal. Sad really.

The interesting thing is that only a person who views themselves as somehow superior would offer up such a post. When dear Stephen did Laval become a mecca for mainstream economists? There are lines and lines of graduate students waiting to work with such a renowned scholar as yourself, are there? Please.


Talk about adding insult to injury...

I don't like that paper's methodology one bit - is it at all representative of mainstream economics scholarship? The model developed by Hosius and Siow does not really have any explanatory power, given that it seems to be applied only to provide an interpretation to the data which just happens to conform generally to the model's assumptions. Or am I incorrect? How are the estimates of the wage gain/loss due to unionization estimated? At the very least, measuring such an output should not be through a single response, but taking into account changes in the distribution of wages over time, and considering "unionization" as an exogenous intervention. Other determinants of wages ought to be controlled for as well.

To my statistician/medical student mind, this sort of study seems entirely too theoretical - better to look at the raw data first and then consider explanations for wage changes relevant to unionization and, indeed, other factors.

The data are non-experimental, so you pretty much have to have a model in order to interpret the correlations. For example, unionisation is *not* an exogenous treatment, so statistical methods based on this assumption are problematic. Same thing for changes in the distribution of wages over time: this is something we should be explaining, not using to explain something else.

There may indeed be other models that generate predicted correlations that more closely correspond to those in the data. It'd be interesting to see what they would look like.

Another relevant question is the extent to which the model biases the apparent results. If you can't describe the effect of unionization in at least an observational fashion, I'd question whether the results of model-based inference have actual explanatory power.

I'm not clear on why one cannot assume that unionization functions like an "exogenous" intervention affecting the distribution of wages. To echo George Box, this would also be a useful model for analysis, and controlling for, say, the annual CPI might give a result which would be interpretable without reliance on too many assumptions.

The question isn't just to determine the effect of unionisation, it's also to understand why it would happen in the first place.

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