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Boal's my name. Coal's my game.
Many of my papers examine coal mining in the early twentieth century. Why coal mining? Coal mining was a critical industry at that time, employing nearly 800,000 workers at its peak in the early 1920s. Moreover, the quality of the available data allow examination of many interesting questions regarding productivity, mechanization, and accidents. Data at the county and state level were collected and published by the federal government. Data at the establishment (mine) level were collected and published by many states, including inputs and output (measured in physical, not revenue, terms). Prices, wages, and accidents were often also published. Finally, the rise, fall, and rise of the United Mine Workers in the early twentieth century allow estimation of the effects of unionism.


Refereed journal articles

Boal, William M. 1990. "Unionism and Productivity in West Virginia Coal Mining." Industrial and Labor Relations Review 43 (4): 390-405. [See "Replication" below.]

Boal, William M. 1994. "Estimates of Unionism in West Virginia Coal, 1900-1935." Labor History 35 (3): 429-441.

Boal, William M. 1994. "Union Response to Mechanization in U.S. Bituminous Coal." Labour Economics 1 (3/4): 243-267.

Boal, William M. and John H. Pencavel. 1994. "The Effects of Labor Unions on Employment, Wages, and Days of Operation: Coal Mining in West Virginia." Quarterly Journal of Economics 109 (1): 267-298.

Boal, William M. 1995. "Testing for Employer Monopsony in Turn-of-the-Century Coal Mining." RAND Journal of Economics 26 (3): 519-536.

Boal, William M. and Michael R. Ransom. 1997. "Monopsony in the Labor Market." Journal of Economic Literature 35 (1): 86-112.

Boal, William M. 2006. "New Estimates of Paid-up Membership in the United Mine Workers, 1902-29, by State and Province." Labor History 47 (4): 537-546.

Boal, William M. 2009. "The Effect of Minimum Salaries on Employment of Teachers: A Test of the Monopsony Model." Southern Economic Journal 75 (3): 611-638.

Boal, William M. 2009. "The Effect of Unionism on Accidents in U.S. Coal Mining, 1897-1929." Industrial Relations 48 (1): 97-120. (See "Errata" below.)

Boal, William M. 2017. "The Effect of Unionism on Productivity: Evidence from a Long Panel of Coal Mines." Industrial and Labor Relations Review 70 (5): 1254-1282. DOI:10.1177/0019793916682222 (Data and TSP program)

Boal, William M. 2017. "What Did Unions Do? The Case of Illinois Coal Mining in the 1880s." Journal of Labor Research 38 (4): 439-474. DOI:10.1007/s12122-017-9253-8 (Data and Stata do-files)

Boal, William M. 2018. "Work Intensity and Worker Safety in Early Twentieth-Century Coal Mining." Explorations in Economic History 70: 132-149. DOI:10.1016/j.eeh.2018.08.001 (Data and Stata do-files)

Other publications

Boal, William M., Price V. Fishback and Shawn Kantor. 1994. "Why Did Coal Miners Work So Few Hours? Labor-Leisure Choice in the Face of Severe Time Constraints." In Ian Blanchard, ed., Labour and Leisure in Historical Perspective, Thirteenth to Twentieth Centuries. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.

Boal, William M. and Michael R. Ransom. "Monopsony in American Labor Markets." January 2002. Published in the EH.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History at http://www.eh.net/encyclopedia/boal.monopsony.php.

Working papers

Working papers

Boal, William M. 1992. "The Unionization of West Virginia Coal, 1900-1935: A Chronology." (PDF)

Boal, William M. 2016. "The Effect of Unionism on Accidents in U.S. Coal Mining, 1897-1929: Errata." (PDF)

Boal, William M. 2016. "Unionism and Productivity in West Virginia Coal Mining: A Replication Study." (PDF)

Boal, William M. 2022. "Shorter Hours and Productivity: Evidence from Bituminous Coal Mining." (PDF)