Individual Rights and Collective Agents: The Role of Old and New Workplace Institution in the Regulation of Labor Markets
NBER Working Paper No. 9565
Implementation of workplace policies--whether through enforcement of laws or administration of programs--raises the question of the interaction between institutions created to carry out laws and the activities of workplace based agents that directly (e.g. unions) or indirectly (e.g. insurance companies) represent the interests of workers. This paper argues that there are two distinctive roles required for agents in the implementation of workplace policies. First, the agent must somehow help solve the public goods problem inherent in workplace regulation. Second, the agent must be able to reduce the marginal cost of exercising rights conferred to workers that are an important feature of most regulatory programs. This article examines these issues in regard to implementing workplace policies in the U.S. and analyzes the comparative effectiveness of different workplace agents- from labor unions to alternative dispute resolution systems- in fulfilling these roles.
Published: David Weil, 2004. "Individual Rights and Collective Agents. The Role of Old and New Workplace Institutions in the Regulation of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 13-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.