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This paper focuses on a few directions in which protective labor legislation might be expanded in the United States over the next decade and the implications of expansion in each area for labor markets. Specifically, it addresses the areas of hours of work, unjust dismissal, comparable worth, and plant closings. In each case, the discussion stresses the need to be explicit about how private markets have failed, the need for empirical evidence to test such market failure claims, the need for economic analysis of potential unintended side effects of policy changes, and the existing empirical estimates of the likely magnitudes of these effects.


Suggested Citation
Ehrenberg, R. G. (1985). Workers’ rights: Rethinking protective labor legislation (NBER Working Paper Series No. 1754) [Electronic version]. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Required Publisher’s Statement
© University of Chicago Press. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Later version published as: Ehrenberg, R. G. (1986). Workers’ rights: Rethinking protective labor legislation. In R. Ehrenberg (Ed.), Research in labor economics: Vol. 8, Part B. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.