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Why Do Voice Regimes Differ?

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  • Alex Bryson
  • Rafael Gomez
  • P Willman

Abstract

In this paper we seek to explain the emergence of different voice regimes, and to do so by using approaches from institutional economics. In particular we analyse the emergence of different voice regimes as a contracting problem; a ¿make¿ or ¿buy¿ decision on the part of the employer. A unique feature of the model is that the firm, having chosen its particular employee management regime, faces switching costs if it attempts to alter its original make or buy decision. A particular dimension of the employee management regime decision is the use of the union as agent or supplier of voice, or elements thereof. We argue that there are circumstances in which the employer may, on grounds of cost or risk, seek to subcontract aspects of the management of labour to a union and, further, that this (along with the presence of switching costs) helps explain the continued recognition of trade unions in many firms. In other circumstances, however, the employer may seek to construct voice mechanisms without union involvement. Workplace data from Britain are used to test these and other implications of the model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0591.

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Date of creation: Nov 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0591

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

Related research

Keywords: trade unions; voice; transaction cost economics; switching costs;

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References

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  1. Willman,Paul & Morris,Tim & Aston,Beverly, 1993. "Union Business," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521417259, November.
  2. Paul Willman, 2001. "The Viability of Trade Union Organization: A Bargaining Unit Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 39(1), pages 97-117, 03.
  3. Dirk Willem te Velde, 2003. "Foreign Ownership, Microelectronic Technology and Skills: Evidence for British Establishments," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 185(1), pages 93-106, July.
  4. Henry S. Farber & Bruce Western, 2002. "Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Declining Union Organization," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 385-401, 09.
  5. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2002. "Changes over time in union relative wage effects in the UK and the US revisited," NBER Working Papers 9395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Willman, Paul, 1982. "Opportunism in labour contracting : An application of the `organisational failures' framework," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 83-98, March.
  7. Stephen Machin, 2000. "Union decline in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20191, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Stephen Machin, 2000. "Union Decline in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 631-645, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Howard Gospel & P Willman, 2003. "High Performance Workplaces: the Role of Employee Involvement in a Modern Economy Evidence on the EU Directive Establishing a General Framework for Informing and Consulting Employees," CEP Discussion Papers dp0562, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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