How Successful Have Trade Unions Been? A Utility-Based Indicator of Union Well-Being
AbstractCan conventional economic analysis help in defining and measuring the success of labor unions? In this paper, a general indicator of union welfare is proposed and particular expressions for the wage and employment objectives of unions are rearranged to derive measures of union success or welfare. These indicators combine two measures: union density and the relative union-nonunion wage gap. The indicators are applied to describe the movement of union welfare in the United States over the past eighty years, the differences in union success among groups of U.S. workers, and the variation in union well-being across countries. The results suggest that U.S. unions’ success peaked in the 1950s and 1960s; they have tended to benefit black workers, especially black men, more than other groups; and in recent decades a very low unionization rate has contributed to make them less successful, overall, than unions in other countries with similar labor markets.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.
Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Postal: 381 Ives East, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
Other versions of this item:
- Pencavel, John, 2008. "How Successful Have Trade Unions Been? A Utility-Based Indicator of Union Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 3660, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- John Pencavel, 2008. "How Successful Have Trade Unions Been?: A Utility-Based Indicator of Union Well-Being," Discussion Papers 08-002, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
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