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Harvard. Labor and Public Policy Syllabus Dunlop, 1948

The following course outline and syllabus come from the second term of a two term course in collective bargaining and public policy offered by John Dunlop at Harvard in 1947-48.  Material for the first term was posted earlier. The final examination questions for both terms will be posted soon.


Course Enrollment

[Economics] 81b. Associate Professor Dunlop.–Public Policy and Labor (Sp).

Total 147: 2 Graduates, 85 Seniors, 37 Juniors, 11 Sophomores, 1 Freshman, 11 Radcliffe.

Source: Harvard University. Report of the President of Harvard College and Reports of Departments for 1947-1948, p. 90.


Economics 81b
Spring 1948


  1. Introduction
    1. General Setting of the Problems of the Course
    2. Governmental Attitude toward Labor and Employer Organizations
    3. Organized Labor’s Relation to Government
  2. Issues of Public Policy
    1. The Extent of “Public” Encouragement to Organization
    2. The Regulation of Labor Organizations
    3. The Machinery for the Settlement of Disputes
    4. The Treatment of the Parties to a Dispute
    5. The Status of Labor Organizations under the Anti-trust Laws
    6. Minimum Wage and Hour Regulation
    7. The Risk of Unemployment
    8. Old Age Insurance
    9. The Risks of Accident and Sickness
  3. The Process of “Public Policy” Formulation
    1. The Determination of Community Values
    2. The Operation of “Pressure Groups”
    3. The Role of the Press
    4. The Legislative Sphere
    5. The Influence of Administrative Agencies; Board Members, Administrators, and Staff



  1. Does the process of collective bargaining between labor organizations and employers give assurance that the “public interest” will be best served? How do you evaluate the possibility of collective bargaining resulting in continuing warfare or “combination” against the “public interest”?
  2. “The threat of strike and lockout, and probably some work stoppages, are vital to the functioning of collective bargaining.” Do you agree? Do you have “vigorous” or “healthy” labor and management organizations where there have been no work stoppages for long periods? How can the “public” be made to understand the necessity for the social costs of voluntarism?
  3. Do you think it is possible to prohibit strikes by law? May not workers always bring equal pressure by turning out a smaller quantity of work? How do you distinguish between the right to strike and the right of an individual to refuse to work? Are the concepts identical? Are “wildcat strikes” and similar spontaneous walkouts, in part at least, a desirable social safety valve?
  4. Is it possible to have private collective bargaining when bargaining units become in effect National in scope as in the railroad and steel industries? Do you think the parties in such cases are likely to reach settlements without governmental intervention? Is it possible to keep the Government out of such disputes? If not, do you think it follows that the “government” is required to adopt some explicit wage policy in peacetime?
  5. The Department of Labor was established to “promote the interests of wage earners.” The mediation and conciliation functions of the Government were located in the Department of Labor? Do you believe employers had any valid objections to this arrangement? What should be the relation of the two assistant Secretaries of Labor, “representing” the AFL and CIO, to the administration of the Department of Labor?
  6. For the purposes of “public concern” with the “internal affairs” of a labor organization, would you regard a union more like a “private club” or a “public utility”? Does the presence of a Governmental guarantee of the right to organize affect the answer to this question?
  7. How is “public policy” in fact formulated? Contrast, for example, the mechanics used in formulating: the old age insurance program, the “cooling-off period” of the War Labor Disputes Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  8. What mechanism would you propose to formulate working compromises between agriculture and organized labor? Consider the interest of agriculture in industrial employment for “surplus population” and in cheap prices of industrial goods; also consider the interest of organized labor in food prices and in extending the area of organization.
  9. Where would you draw the line between “management personnel” and “labor” for the purpose of determining the rights to self-organization and protection from “unfair labor practices”? How would you constructively treat the issue of the “organization of supervisors” from the point of view of management? From the point of view of the labor movement?
  10. Do you think it possible to extend gradually the area of labor-management agreement fast enough to preclude the necessity of legislation to prescribe in detail the rights and duties of both sides? How would you speed up the process of agreement? Consider this question in the light of American experience in contrast to that in England, Sweden, Germany and Australia.
  11. How would you define the “legitimate” interests of management in the organization of its employees? What criteria would you establish to draw lines between cases of coercion on the one hand and the exercise or the expression of the “legitimate” interests of management you have defined?
  12. How would you define the area on which you would allow an employer as a matter of public policy, to deal with an employee as an individual rather than through the collective bargaining agent? Does the union have the right to insist that individual merit increases be “negotiated or bargained” with the union? May the company install a pension plan without “bargaining”?
  13. Can the Federal Government avoid having a “wage policy”? Are labor and management organized along lines which would facilitate the formulation of a national wage policy? What are the dimensions or ingredients you would suggest for a national wage policy—the rate of change of the wage level, wage rate differentials, etc.?
  14. Under a system of unemployment compensations how would you define “availability for work”? Should men on strike be allowed benefits? May one refuse to accept a lower wage rate and still draw benefits? How far away must a job be before refusal of the job is a bar to benefits?
  15. What different concepts of the labor force, employment and unemployment do you regard as essential to public policy-making?
  16. What procedures would you recommend to formulate public policy on a health program?


Economics 81b



  1. General Setting of the Problems of the Course
    1. Conflicts of interests in a political democracy
    2. The meaning of “public policy formation”
    3. Fundamental issues of public policy in this field

Required Reading

Sumner H. Slichter, Trade Unions in a Free Society

Twentieth Century Fund, Trends in Collective Bargaining. A Summary of Recent Experience, 1945, pp. 1-33; 188-211; 215-50. (Students who have had Economics 81a need only read pp. 215-50.)

Henry C. Simons, “Some Reflections on Syndicalism”, Journal of Political Economy, March 1944, pp. 1-25. (To be read by students who have not taken Economics 81a)

Frederick H. Harbison and Robert Dubin, Patterns of Union—Management Relations, pp. 3-178.

Richard A. Lester, “Reflections on the ‘Labor Monopoly’ Issue”, Journal of Political Economy, December 1947, pp. 513-36.

Recommended Reading

Élie Halévy, The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism, translated by Mary Morris, 1928, pp. 89-150; 249-310.

Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of Business Enterprise, Chapter 8, “Business Principles in Law and Politics”.

Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 1942.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 2, pp. 158-61; 177-91; (Alfred A. Knopf, 1945 edition)

Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Industrial Democracy.

  1. Governmental Attitude toward Labor and Employer Organizations
    1. The evolution of public policy.
    2. The present status of both types of organization
    3. The role of the Department of Labor

Required Reading

Charles O. Gregory, Labor and the Law, pp. 13-82.

Pendleton Herring, The Politics of Democracy, 1940, pp. 368-90.

D. O. Bowman, Public Control of Labor Relations, 1942, pp. 3-57.

John Lombardi, Labor’s Voice in the Cabinet, A History of the Department of Labor from its Origin to 1921, pp. 15-95.

Recommended Reading

Felix Frankfurter, Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court, Chapter 1, “Property and Society”, pp. 13-48.

Edward S. Corwin, The Twilight of the Supreme Court, pp. 52-101.

Leo Wolman, “The Turning Point in American Labor Policy,” Political Science Quarterly, June 1940, pp. 161-75.

H. Samuels, The Law of Trade Unions.

Calvert Magruder, “A Half Century of Legal Influence upon the Development of Collective Bargaining”, Harvard Law Review, May 1937, pp. 1071-1117.

James M. Landis and Marcus Manoff, Cases on Labor Law, (1942 edition) Chapter 1, “Historical Introduction”, pp. 1-40.

Charles O. Gregory and Malcolm Sharp, Social Change and Labor Law.

U. S. Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards, Federal Labor Laws and Agencies, Bulletin 79.

Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew, pp. 182- 336.



  1. The Extent of “Public” Encouragement to Organization
    1. The Wagner Act and the NLRB
    2. The Labor Management Relations Act, 1947
    3. Selected problems of policy determination

Required Reading

The Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 and The Conference Report

Herbert Unterberger and Max Malin, The Taft-Hartley Act in Operation

E. E. Witte, “Labor-Management Relations under the Taft-Hartley Act”, Harvard Business Review, Autumn 1947, pp. 554-75.

Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr., “The Open Window and the Open Door”, California Law Review, Vol. 351, pp. 336-51.

C. O. Gregory, Labor and the Law, pp. 223-52; 289-33.

Carl Raushenbush and Emanuel Stein, Labor Cases and Materials, 1941, pp. 286-370.

D. O. Dowman, Public Control of Labor Relations, pp. 133-186.

Recommended Reading

La Follette Committee Reports

Lewis L. Lorwin and Arthur Warbnig, Labor Relations Boards, 1935.

E. Merrick Dodd, “The Supreme Court and Organized Labor, 1941-45”, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 58, pp. 1018-71.

Joseph Rosenfarb, The National Labor Policy and How It Works.

National Labor Relations Board, Government’s Protection of Labor’s Right to Organize, Bulletin No. 1.

E. B. McNatt, “The Appropriate Bargaining Unit Problem”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 1941.

Robert R. R. Brooks, Unions of their Own Choosing, 1939.

William E. Mosher and J. Donald Kingsley, Public Personnel Administration, 1941, pp. 558-85.

David Ziskind, One Thousand Strikes of Government Employees

Gordon R. Clapp, Employee Relations in the Public Service, A Report Submitted to the Civil Service Assembly, 1942.

National Labor Relations Board, Legislative History of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947.

Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. The New Labor Law

Herbert O. Eby, The Labor Relations Act in the Courts.

Paul Herzog, “Labor Relations Acts of the States”, Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences, November 1942.

Report and Findings of a Panel of the National War Labor Board in Certain Disputes Involving Supervisors.

Harold W. Metz and M. Jacobstein, National Labor Policy, 1947.

National Labor Relations Board, Annual Reports

  1. The Regulation of Labor Organizations

Required Reading

Florence Peterson, American Labor Unions, 1945, pp. 84-126.

Recommended Reading

Joel Seidman, Union Rights and Union Duties, 1943.

Neil Chamberlin, “Judicial Process in Labor Unions”, Brooklyn Law Review, 1940

Henry V. Rothschild, “Government Regulation of Trade Unions in Great Britain”, Columbia Law Review, 1939.

American Civil Liberties Union, Democracy in Trade Unions

Report on Certain Aspects of Labor Union Responsibility and Control

O. de. R. Foenander, Industrial Regulations in Australia, pp. 169-216.

Clyde W. Sumners, “The Admission Policies of Labor Unions”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Nov. 1946.

Ludwig Teller, A Labor Policy for America, A National Labor Code

  1. The Machinery for the Settlement of Disputes
    1. Types and characteristics of disputes related to methods of settlement
    2. Mediation, conciliation, and arbitration
    3. The railroad machinery
    4. Wartime machinery for settlement of disputes
    5. The fact-finding procedure
    6. Recent legislative proposals

Required Reading

C. O. Gregory, Labor and the Law, 378-412; 413-46.

U. S. Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards, Arbitration of Grievances, Bulletin 82 (scan only)

Report of the Commission on Industrial Relations in Great Britain, 1938, pp. 1-25.

Twentieth Century Fund, How Collective Bargaining Works, pp. 318-80.

Paul Fisher, “The National War Labor Board and Postwar Industrial Relation”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 1945, pp. 483-523.

The President’s National Labor-Management Conference, Summary and Committee Reports, (Division of Labor Standards Bulletin 77) pp. 1-71.

Report of the Governor’s Labor Management Committee, Massachusetts, 1947

Recommended Reading

T. R. Fisher, Industrial Disputes and Federal Legislation, pp. 141-53; 154-86.

Kurt Braun, The Settlement of Industrial Disputes, 1944.

Howard S. Kaltenborn, Governmental Adjustment of Labor Disputes, 1943.

Frances Kellor, Arbitration in Action, 1941.

J. J. Robbins, The Government of Labor Relations in Sweden, 1942.

J. Henry Richardson, Industrial Relations in Great Britain, 1938.

Herbert R. Northrup, Labor Adjustment Machinery.

Ducksoo Chang, British Methods of Industrial Peace.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin 287, The War Labor Board Report of the National Defense Mediation Board.

The Reports and Proceedings of the Labor Management Conference

The Fact-Finding Reports: General Motors, Oil Companies, and the Meat Packing Companies

John T. Dunlop, “Fact-Finding in Labor Disputes”, Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, May 1946, pp. 64-74.

B. M. Stuart and Walter J. Couper, Fact-Finding in Industrial Disputes.

Ludwig Teller, A Labor Policy for America, A National Labor Code.

Clarence M. Updegraff and Whitley P. McCoy, Arbitration in Labor Disputes.

Herbert R. Northrup, “The Railway Labor Act and Railway Labor Disputes in Wartime”, American Economic Review, June 1946, pp. 324-43.

C E. D. Research and Policy Committee, Collective Bargaining: How to Make it More Effective, Feb. 1947.

  1. The Treatment of the Parties to a Dispute
    1. The Injunction
    2. Boycott and Picketing
    3. The Use of Seizure

Required Reading

C. O. Gregory, Labor and the Law, pp. 83-199; 334-77.

Harry A. Millis and R. E. Montgomery, Organized Labor, pp. 613-29; 629-51.

Recommended Reading

Carl Raushenbush and Emanuel Stein, Labor Cases and Materials, 1941, pp. 5-213.

Samuel Yellen, American Labor Struggles

Felix Frankfurter and N. Greene, The Labor Injunction

  1. The Status of Labor Organizations under the Anti-trust Laws

Required Reading

C. O. Gregory, Labor and the Law, pp. 200-22; 253-88.

C. D. Edwards, “Public Policy toward Restraints of Trade by Labor Unions: An Economic Appraisal”, American Economic Review, Supplement, March 1942, pp. 432-48.

E. E. Witte, “A Critique of Mr. Arnolds Proposals”, American Economic Review, Supplement, March 1942, pp. 449-59.

Recommended Reading

Thurman Arnold, The Bottlenecks of Business, Chapter XIX

A. T. Mason, Organized Labor and the Law

Carl Rauschenbush and Emanuel Stein, Labor Cases and Materials, 1941, p. 46-62.

  1. Minimum Wage and Hour Regulation
    1. Conditions Leading to Legislation
    2. Economic Principles and Consequences
    3. Administrative Agencies and Procedures
    4. Problems of Administration and Policy-Making

Required Reading

The Fair Labor Standards Act

Harry Millis and R.E. Montgomery, Labor’s Progress and Some Basic Labor Problems, pp. 324-56.

Recommended Reading

Richard B. Morris, Government and Labor in Early America

Dorothy Sells, British Wage Boards

Paul H. Douglas and J. Hochman, “Fair Labor Standards Act,” Political Science Quarterly, LIII (491-515); LIV (29-55)

Marion Cahill, Shorter Hours, A History of the Movement since the Civil War

E. Merrick Dodd, “The Supreme Court and Fair Labor Standards, 1941-45,” Harvard Law Review, February 1946, pp. 321-73.

E. M. Burns, Wages and the State

E. J. Riches, “Conflicts of Principles in Wage Regulation in New Zealand”, Economica, August 1938.

Orme W. Phelps, The Legislative Background of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Attorney General’s Committee on Administrative Procedure, Administrative Procedure in Government Agencies.

Wage and Hour Division, Annual Reports.

Bureau of National Affairs, Wage and Hour Manual, Cumulative Edition 1944-45

US. Department of Labor, Maximum Hour Regulation in France, 1936-40

U. S. Department of Labor, Wartime Regulation of Hours of Labor and Labor Supply in Great Britain.

Bureau of National Affairs, Your Working Time Problem under the Wage and Hour Law.

  1. Labor Supply and Unemployment
    1. Characteristics of the Labor Market
    2. Definitions and Measurement of Employment, Labor Force and Unemployment
    3. Employment Exchanges
    4. Unemployment Compensation

Required Reading

E. Wight Bakke, The Unemployed Worker, A Study of the Task of Making a Living Without a Job, pp. 1-34.

S. H. Slichter, “The Impact of the Social Security Program upon Mobility and Enterprise,” American Economic Review, March 1940.

Lloyd G. Reynolds, “The Supply of Labor to the Firm”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 1946, pp. 390-411.

Louis J. Ducoff and M. S. Hagood, Labor Force Definitions and Measurements, Current Issues, Social Security Bulletin, pp. 1-35.

Recommended Reading

Dewey Anderson and Percey E. Davidson, Recent Occupational Trends in American Labor

G. E. Bigge, “Strength and Weakness of our Unemployment Compensation Program,” Social Security Bulletin, February 1944, pp. 5-11.

W. S. Woytinsky, Three Aspects of Labor Dynamics

Joan Robinson, “Mobility of Labor” in Essays in the Theory of Employment

A. C. Pigou, The Economics of Welfare, pp. 488-511, 656-70.

Elizabeth Gilboy, Applicants for War Relief, pp. 31-46; 69-83; 98-122

W. S. Woytinsky, “Controversial Aspects of Unemployment Estimates in the United States,” Review of Economic Statistics, May 1941, pp. 68-77.

Henry H. Collins, Jr., America’s Own Refugees, pp. 89-180; 249-67

E. Wight Bakke, Citizens without Work, A Study of the Effects of Unemployment upon the Workers’ Social Relations and Practices, pp. 71-106, 283-306.

W. H. Beveridge, “An Analysis of Unemployment”, Economica, November 1936, pp. 357-86.

Harry Malisoff, “The Emergence of Unemployment Compensation,” Political Science Quarterly, 1939 (3 parts)

Harrison Clark, Swedish Unemployment Policy—1914-1940

Atkinson, R. C., Adencrantz, L. C., and Deming, B., Public Employment Service in the United States, Chs. 1 and 3.

Breckinridge, Sophonisba, Public Welfare Administration in the United States, Selected Documents (2nd edition)

Abbott, Edith, Public Assistance, Vol. 1, American Principles and Policies

Pilgrim Trust, Men without Work, Report

Huntington, Emily, Doors to Jobs

Matscheck, W., and Atkinson, R. C., Problems and Procedures of Unemployment Compensation in the States

White, R. C., Administering Unemployment Compensation

Kulp, A. C., Social Insurance Coordination, An Analysis of British and German Organization

F. N. Ball, Statute Law Relating to Employment, 1946 (English experience)

8,9 Security Against Accident, Ill Health, and Old Age

Required Reading

Harry Millis and Royal E. Montgomery, Labor’s Risks and Social Insurance, pp. 187-270; 353-420.

E. E. Witte, “Postwar Social Security” in Postwar Economic Problems, edited by S. E. Harris, pp. 263-77.

Bernhard J. Stern, Medicine in Industry, pp. 17-48 and 133-56.

“Union Health and Welfare Plans”, Monthly Labor Review, February 1947, pp. 191-214

Recommended Reading

J. Douglas Brown, “Economic Problems in the Provision of Security against the Life Hazards of Workers, American Economic Review, Supplement, March 1940

Twentieth Century Fund, More Security for Old Age, pp. 1-18; 69-86.

Seymour E. Harris, Economics of Social Security, pp. 161-279

Barbara Armstrong, The Health Insurance Doctor, pp 1-98

Heinrich, H. W., Industrial Accident Prevention

National Research Council, Committee on Work in Industry, Fatigue of Workers

Federal Security Agency, Social Security Board, Annual Reports

Abraham Epstein, Insecurity—A Challenge to America

Stewart, Maxwell S., Social Security

Davis, Michael M., America Organizes Medicine

William Beveridge, Full Employment in a Free Society

E. Wight Bakke, “America and the Beveridge Plan,” Yale Review, June 1944, pp. 642-57.

Social Security Bulletin, “A Basic Minimum Program of Social Security,” January 1944, pp. 3-12.

Franz Goldmann, Public Medical Care, Principles and Problems

Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, 79th Congress 1st Session, Issues in Social Security.

Verne Zimmer, “New Developments in Workmen’s Compensation”, Social Security Bulletin October 1944.




(The reading in this Section is to be distributed throughout the term rather than concentrated at the end of the course. The study of the Process of “Public Policy” Formulation must be interwoven with the actual problems of public policy.)

Required Reading

Neil W. Chamberlain, The Union Challenge to Management Control, (Pages to be assigned)

R. A. Gordon, Business Leadership in the Large Corporation, pp. 67-188.

Peter F. Drucker, Concept of the Corporation, pp. 1-114 (Optional)

Paul H. Appleby, Big Democracy, 1-144.

Walter Gellhorn, Federal Administrative Proceedings, pp. 1-40

Fritz Marx, Editor, Elements of Public Administration, pp. 314-338, 365-80

John M. Gaus, Reflections on Public Administration, (Optional)

Dorwin Cartwright, “Public Opinion Polls and Democratic Leadership”, Journal of Social Issues, May, 1946, pp. 3-12.


Source:  Harvard University Archives. Syllabi, course outlines and reading lists in Economics, 1893-2003 (HUC 8522.2.1), Box 4, Folder “1947-48 (2 of 2)”.

Image Source: John Dunlop in Harvard Class Album 1950.

Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier