Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 295–309 | Cite as

Understanding political pricing of labor services: The Davis-Bacon Act

  • Morgan O. Reynolds
Symposium On Current Labor Issues Market Failure, Collective Action, And Collective Failure


Examples of divergence between the intended (stated) and actual consequences of government intervention in the marketplace abound. In this paper, two legislative attempts to specify wage rates on government contracts are analyzed. The Davis-Bacon Act has been successful in forcing government contractors to pay the prevailing union wage rate. In contrast, the Walsh-Healey Act has been ineffective in establishing minimum wage scales on most government contracts. Analysis indicates that the success of one and the failure of the other is due to differences in enforcement costs, special interest group support, the concentration of opposition, and the narrower scope of Davis-Bacon.


Minimum Wage Wage Rate Union Rate Union Wage Monopoly Price 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Labor Research 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morgan O. Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station

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