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Unions, Dissatisfied Workers and Sorting

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  • C Green
  • J S Heywood

Abstract

A persistent and sizeable literature argues that the reported job dissatisfaction of union members is spurious. It reflects either the sorting of workers across union status or the sorting of union recognition across jobs. We cast doubt on this argument presenting the first estimates that use panel data to hold constant both worker and job match fixed effects. The estimates demonstrate that covered union members report greater dissatisfaction even when accounting for sorting in both dimensions. Moreover, covered union members are less likely to quit holding job satisfaction constant and their quit behaviour is far less responsive to job satisfaction. The paradox of the discontented union member remains intact.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 615292.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:615292

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  1. Bryson, Alex & Cappellari, Lorenzo & Lucifora, Claudio, 2005. "Why So Unhappy? The Effects of Unionisation on Job Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 1498, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Joni Hersch & Joe A. Stone, 1990. "Is Union Job Dissatisfaction Real?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4).
  3. Alex Bryson & Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2004. "Does Union Membership Really Reduce Job Satisfaction?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 439-459, 09.
  4. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  5. Booth, Alison L & Bryan, Mark L, 2001. "The Union Membership Wage Premium Puzzle: Is There A Free-Rider Problem?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2879, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job satisfaction, trade unions, and exit-voice revisited," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
  7. Farber, Henry S & Saks, Daniel H, 1980. "Why Workers Want Unions: The Role of Relative Wages and Job Characteristics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 349-69, April.
  8. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. John S. Heywood & W. S. Siebert & Xiangdong Wei, 2002. "Worker sorting and job satisfaction: The case of union and government jobs," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 595-609, July.
  10. Clark, Andrew E., 2001. "What really matters in a job? Hedonic measurement using quit data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-242, May.
  11. Hirsch, Barry T, 1993. "Trucking Deregulation and Labor Earnings: Is the Union Premium a Compensating Differential?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(2), pages 279-301, April.
  12. Swaffield, Joanna K, 2001. " Does Measurement Error Bias Fixed-Effects Estimates of the Union Wage Effect?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 437-57, September.
  13. George J. Borjas, 1979. "Job Satisfaction, Wages, and Unions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 21-40.
  14. Kristensen, Nicolai & WestergÄrd-Nielsen, Niels C., 2004. "Does Low Job Satisfaction Lead to Job Mobility?," IZA Discussion Papers 1026, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Michael E. Gordon & Angelo S. Denisi, 1995. "A re-examination of the relationship between union membership and job satisfaction," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 222-236, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Dr Alex Bryson, 2013. "Not So Dissatisfied After All? The Impact of Union Coverage on Job Satisfaction," NIESR Discussion Papers 11606, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  2. Haile, Getinet Astatike & Bryson, Alex & White, Michael, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Union Status and Employee Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 7075, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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