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Soft Coal, Hard Choices : The Economic Welfare of Bituminous Coal Miners, 1890-1930 - Price V. Fishback

Soft Coal, Hard Choices

The Economic Welfare of Bituminous Coal Miners, 1890-1930

Hardcover Published: 28th May 1992
ISBN: 9780195067255
Number Of Pages: 296

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While most studies of labor in the coal industry focus on the struggle to organize unions, this work offers a more diverse and quantitative examination of the labor market. It regards the economic lives of the bituminous coal miners in the early twentieth century. Fishback's analytic framework encompasses competition among employers for labor, the legal environment, institutional development in response to transactions costs as well as the impact of labor unions on the coal industry. Utilizing economic theory and statistics, Fishback reveals the models hidden in the descriptions of events, and then tests their internal consistency as well as the hypotheses they generate.

Industry Reviews

"A stimulating and lucid reassessment of a major area of US labor history....This is an excellent example of historical economics."--Business History "A fascinating piece of iconoclasm. Fishback brings to bear an impressive range of evidence and argument....This cliometric investigation is one that anyone interested in labor economics, labor relations, or the coal industry should read."--Industrial and Labor Relations Review "An excellent quantitative history of an important subject, effectively combining economic theory and empirical analysis. An important source for researchers, it should also provide a valuable case study for teachers of economic history or the economics of organizations."--Journal of Economic Literature "Students of labor relations in the turn-of-the-century coal industry will find Soft Coal, Hard Choices an invaluable reference. But it deserves to be read more broadly, for it provides a compelling demonstration of the value of the economists' analytical tools for understanding labor history."--Journal of Economic History "Price Fishback insists that economic organizations of all kinds, including even coal mining and company towns, can and should be examined in a disciplined way. His facinating treatment breathes new life into these issues and will be of interest to students of labor and economic organization alike."--Oliver E. Williamson, iversity of California, Berkeley "A stimulating and lucid reassessment of a major area of US labor history....This is an excellent example of historical economics."--Business History "A fascinating piece of iconoclasm. Fishback brings to bear an impressive range of evidence and argument....This cliometric investigation is one that anyone interested in labor economics, labor relations, or the coal industry should read."--Industrial and Labor Relations Review "An excellent quantitative history of an important subject, effectively combining economic theory and empirical analysis. An important source for researchers, it should also provide a valuable case study for teachers of economic history or the economics of organizations."--Journal of Economic Literature "Students of labor relations in the turn-of-the-century coal industry will find Soft Coal, Hard Choices an invaluable reference. But it deserves to be read more broadly, for it provides a compelling demonstration of the value of the economists' analytical tools for understanding labor history."--Journal of Economic History "Price Fishback insists that economic organizations of all kinds, including even coal mining and company towns, can and should be examined in a disciplined way. His facinating treatment breathes new life into these issues and will be of interest to students of labor and economic organization alike."--Oliver E. Williamson, iversity of California, Berkeley "The author's detailed empirical analysis adds a significant dimension to the historical studies of coal mining in the US."--Choice "First-rate economics and first-rate history, the yield of ten years of mining. It uses a remarkable range of sources to retell the story of coal, from miner's letters to advanced econometrics. The evidence is overwhelming that the miners were not pathetic victims portrayed in some folklore but tough men with hard choices. Anyone who wants to understand American labor and industrial history needs to get it and read it. It's a lesson in economics and a course in history, an instant classic in the field."--Donald N. McCloskey, e University of Iowa "[Fishback] raises important and interesting questions about the reality of life in the coal fields during the early part of this century."--Labor History "This book is a major contribution to an important area of labour history. The data presented in it provides a welcome context for the many narrative histories of the period, and Fishback's quantitative approach has resulted in a number of refreshing new insights. The text is also highly readable and thoroughly referenced"--Labour/Le Travail "[A] provocatively written analysis....This book warrants reading, and has a definite place in labor historiography and labor economics."--Monthly Labor Review "Will surely stand as the classic work on the subject."-- Growth and Change "An excellent and most welcome book....Brings a breath of fresh air into an area that has been the subject of romantic conjecture for too long."--Business History Review, Autumn 1993

The Miners' Choices: Voice or Exitp. 3
The Analytical Frameworkp. 11
The Implications of Competitionp. 11
The Impact of Collective Action and Unionsp. 14
Summary of Implicationsp. 16
The Coal Labor Market, 1890-1930p. 19
Long-term Trends in the Coal Product Marketp. 19
Exercising Voice Through the Unionp. 23
Competition Among Employers for Laborp. 25
The Miners' Mobilityp. 27
The Miners' Informationp. 31
Summaryp. 35
Working in a Coal Minep. 42
Tonnage Menp. 42
Daymenp. 45
Managementp. 47
Rewards in the Occupational Hierarchyp. 49
Methods of Wage Paymentp. 60
Piece Rates, Time Rates, and Transactions Costsp. 60
Piece Rates and Quality Controlp. 65
Piece Rates and Variation in Mine Conditionsp. 68
Summaryp. 73
Dig Sixteen Tons and What Did You Get? Earningsp. 79
Why Become a Miner? High Hourly Earningsp. 80
Annual Earningsp. 83
The Worker's Choicep. 84
Trends in Real Earningsp. 88
Regional Comparisons Within Coal Miningp. 91
Summaryp. 97
Death's Taken a Mighty Toll for Coal, Coal, Coalp. 102
The Extent and Nature of Coal Accidentsp. 102
Wages and Accident Ratesp. 108
Unions and Safetyp. 111
Government Regulation of Safetyp. 112
Changes in Liability Lawsp. 118
Compensation and Accident Preventionp. 120
Summaryp. 125
Did Coal Miners "Owe Their Souls to the Company Store"?p. 133
The Limits on Store Monopolyp. 134
Why Did Companies Own Stores?p. 135
Store Pricesp. 136
Were Miners Forced to Buy at the Store?p. 141
Conclusionsp. 147
The Company Townp. 152
The Nature of Company Housingp. 152
Why Did Companies Own Housing?p. 155
Monopoly Ownership?p. 155
The "Necessity" of Company Ownershipp. 157
A Device to Prevent Collective Actionp. 159
Model Townsp. 161
Sanitation in Coal Towns During the 1920sp. 161
Sanitation in Company Townsp. 163
Sanitation in Company versus Independent Townsp. 164
Conclusionsp. 165
Coal Mines as Melting Potsp. 171
The Geographic Location of Blacks and Immigrantsp. 172
The Limited Nature of Discrimination in West Virginiap. 176
Wage Rates and Earningsp. 176
Differences in Workplace Safetyp. 178
Positioning in the Job Hierarchyp. 179
The Impact of Competition on Segregated Schoolsp. 184
Housing Segregationp. 186
Segregation Across Minesp. 188
Black Workers in Alabamap. 190
Black Workers and the UMWAp. 190
Summaryp. 191
What Did Miners Gain from Strikes?p. 198
Strike Activity in Bituminous Coal Miningp. 199
Differences in Strike Activity Within the Coal Industryp. 203
The Pecuniary Gains and Losses from Strikesp. 205
Violence During Strikesp. 212
Conclusionsp. 215
Conclusionsp. 221
Calculating Earnings for Workers in Coal Mining and Manufacturingp. 225
Annual Earningsp. 225
Hourly Earningsp. 226
Sources of Data for Panel of Twenty-three Coal States from 1901 to 1930p. 234
Accident Ratesp. 234
Coal Prices, Technological Variables, Strikes, Union Strength, and Mine Sizep. 235
Wage Ratesp. 236
Workers' Compensation Legislationp. 237
State Mining Legislation and Enforcementp. 238
Estimating the Relationship Between Wages and Accident Ratesp. 242
A Theoretical Model of Accident Prevention by Miners and Employersp. 250
The Representative Minerp. 251
The Operatorp. 253
Combining the Resultsp. 254
Measuring Segregation in Job Hierarchiesp. 256
An Empirical Test of the Influence of Coal Companies on Equalizing Black and White Schools in West Virginiap. 262
Piece Rate Regressions for West Virginia Countiesp. 266
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195067255
ISBN-10: 0195067258
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 28th May 1992
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.38 x 16.49  x 2.72
Weight (kg): 0.62

Earn 296 Qantas Points
on this Book