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The 2004 Global Labor Survey: Workplace Institutions and Practices Around the World

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  • Davin Chor
  • Richard B. Freeman

Abstract

The 2004 Global Labor Survey (GLS) is an Internet-based survey that seeks to measure de facto labor practices in countries around the world, covering issues such as freedom of association, the regulation of work contracts, employee benefits and the prevalence of collective bargaining. To find out about de facto practices, the GLS invited labor practitioners, ranging from union officials and activists to professors of labor law and industrial relations, to report on conditions in their country. Over 1,500 persons responded, which allowed us to create indices of practices in ten broad areas for 33 countries. The GLS' focus on de facto labor practices contrasts with recent studies of de jure labor regulations (Botero et al., 2004) and with more limited efforts to measure labor practices as part of surveys of economic freedom (Fraser Institute) and competitiveness (World Economic Forum). Although our pool of respondents differs greatly from the conservative foundations and business leaders who contribute respectively to the Fraser Institute and World Economic Forum reports, the GLS and the labor market components of the economic freedom and competitiveness measures give similar pictures of labor practices across countries. This similarity across respondents with different economic interests and ideological perspectives suggests that they are all reporting on labor market realities in a relatively unbiased way. As a broad summary statement, the GLS shows that practices favorable to workers are more prevalent in countries with high levels of income per capita; are associated with less income inequality; are unrelated to aggregate growth rates; but are modestly positively associated with unemployment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11598.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11598

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  1. Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "Labour Market Institutions Without Blinders: The Debate over Flexibility and Labour Market Performance," NBER Working Papers 11286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134, February.
  3. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  4. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Oliver Fabel & Razvan Pascalau, 2007. "Recruitment of Overeducated Personnel: Insider-Outsider Effects on Fair Employee Selection Practices," TWI Research Paper Series 18, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  2. Carsten Hefeker & Michael Neugart, 2007. "Labor Market Regulation and the Legal System," CESifo Working Paper Series 2041, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Frick, Bernd & Malo, Miguel A. & Garcia Martinez, Pilar & Schneider, Martin, 2012. "The Demand for Individual Grievance Procedures in Germany and Spain: Labour Law Changes versus Business Cycle/La demanda de reclamaciones laborales individuales en Alemania y España: Derecho Laboral ," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 283-310, Abril.
  4. John Armour & Simon Deakin & Prabirjit Sarkar & Mathias Siems & Ajit Singh, 2007. "Shareholder Protection and Stock Market Development: An Empirical Test of the Legal Origins Hypothesis," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp358, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 2009. "Labor Regulations, Unions, and Social Protection in Developing Countries: Market distortions or Efficient Institutions?," NBER Working Papers 14789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paul Collier & Benedikt Goderis, 2009. "Structural policies for shock-prone developing countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 703-726, October.
  7. Simon Deakin & Prabirjit Sarkar, 2008. "Assessing the Long-Run Economic Impact of Labour Law Systems: A theoretical Reappraisal and Analysis of New Time Series Data," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp367, ESRC Centre for Business Research.

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