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The authors of this paper use the median voter model to predict the patterns of rank-and-file voting on wage concessions in a multiplant setting, then test those predictions using data from the 1982 GM-UAW negotiations. The model predicts that workers in plants with large layoffs will vote in favor of a wage concession only if they believe that a concession will save their jobs. Surprisingly, workers in plants with growing or stable employment are also actually more likely to vote Yes. A third prediction is that the Yes vote will be smallest in plants with the most adversarial labor relations. The empirical analysis supports all three predictions.


Originally published as:

Bruce Kaufman and Jorge Martinez-Vazquez. “Voting for Wage Concessions: The Case of the 1982 GM-UAW Negotiations,” with Bruce Kaufman. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 41, no. 2 (January 1988): 183-194.

(c) Cornell University and posted by permission of ILR Review in this not-for-profit educational forum.

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