Politics Matter: Changes in Unionization Rates in Rich Countries, 1960-2010
AbstractResearchers have offered several explanations for the decline in unionization. Many emphasize that “globalization” and the technological advances embodied in the “new economy” have made unions obsolete. However, if the decline in unionization is the inevitable response to the twin forces of globalization and technology, then we would expect unionization rates to follow a similar path in countries subjected to roughly similar levels of globalization and technology. This paper looks union membership and coverage for 21 rich economies, including the United States, and finds over the last five decades a wide range of trends in union membership and collective bargaining. The national political environment, not globalization or technology, is the most important factor driving long-run changes in unionization rates in the United States.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in its series CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs with number 2011-24.
Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
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unions; unionization; globalization; technology;
Other versions of this item:
- John Schmitt & Alexandra Mitukiewicz, 2012. "Politics matter: changes in unionisation rates in rich countries, 1960–2010," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 260-280, 05.
- E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
- H - Public Economics
- J - Labor and Demographic Economics
- J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
- J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy
- J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
- J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy
- P - Economic Systems
- P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-11-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2011-11-28 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MAC-2011-11-28 (Macroeconomics)
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