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Union Decline in Britain

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Author Info

  • David Blanchflower
  • Alex Bryson

Abstract

This paper investigates the demise of unionisation in British private sector workplaces over the last quarter century. We show that dramatic union decline has occurred across all types of workplace. Although the union wage premium persists it is quite small in 2004. Negative union effects on employment growth and financial performance are largely confined to the 1980s. Managerial perceptions of the climate of relations between managers and workers has deteriorated since the early 1980s across the whole private sector, whether the workplace is unionised or not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0864.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0864

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

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Keywords: trade unions; employment growth; financial performance; industrialrelations;

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References

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  1. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Segmentation, switching costs and the demand for unionization in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 4947, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. John H. Pencavel, 2004. "The Surprising Retreat of Union Britain," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 181-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Machin, Stephen & Stewart, Mark, 1996. "Trade Unions and Financial Performance," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 213-41, April.
  4. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
  5. Bernhard Ebbinghaus & Jelle Visser, 1998. "When Institutions Matter: Union Growth and Decline in Western Europe, 1950-95," MZES Working Papers, MZES 30, MZES.
  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Shadforth, Chris, 2007. "Entrepreneurship in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 2818, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Alex Bryson, 1999. "The impact of employee involvement on small firms' financial performance," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 169(1), pages 78-95, July.
  8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1969. "Trade Union Power, Threat Effects and the Extent of Organization," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(106), pages 185-96, April.
  9. Addison, John T & Belfield, Clive R, 2000. "The Impact of Financial Participation and Employee Involvement on Financial Performance: A Re-estimation Using the 1998 WERS," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(5), pages 571-83, November.
  10. John T. Addison & Clive R. Belfield, 2001. "Updating the Determinants of Firm Performance: Estimation using the 1998 UK Workplace Employee Relations Survey," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 39(3), pages 341-366, 09.
  11. Alex Bryson & David Wilkinson, 2002. "Collective bargaining and workplace performance: an investigation using the workplace employee relations survey 1998," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 4995, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Alex Bryson & Harald Dale-Olsen, 2008. "A Tale of Two Countries: Unions, Closures and Growth in Britain and Norway," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0867, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Blanchflower, David G & Millward, Neil & Oswald, Andrew J, 1991. "Unionism and Employment Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 815-34, July.
  14. Blanchflower, David G. & Bryson, Alex, 2007. "The Wage Impact of Trade Unions in the UK Public and Private Sectors," IZA Discussion Papers 3055, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Stewart, Mark B, 1987. "Collective Bargaining Arrangements, Closed Shops and Relative Pay," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 140-56, March.
  16. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year Perspective," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 339-350, July.
  17. 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.
  18. Belfield, Clive R & Heywood, John S, 2001. " Unionization and the Pattern of Nonunion Wages: Evidence for the UK," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(5), pages 577-98, December.
  19. Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A. & Garrett, M., 1988. "Insider Power In Wage Determination," Papers, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics 319, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  21. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Simon Kirby, 2005. "High-Involvement Management Practices, Trade Union Representation And Workplace Performance In Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(3), pages 451-491, 07.
  22. Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2002. "Unions and Employment Growth: The One Constant?," IZA Discussion Papers 479, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. John Forth, 2007. "Workplace Industrial Relations in Britain, 1980-2004," NIESR Discussion Papers, National Institute of Economic and Social Research 1467, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

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