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Going Different Ways: Unionism in the U.S. and Other Advanced O.E.C.D. Countries

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  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Richard B. Freeman

Abstract

In this paper we compare the changing pattern of unionization in OECD countries, review existing evidence, and present new information on cross-country differences in union-nonunion differentials in labor market outcomes, largely from the micro data files of the International Social Survey Programme cross-country surveys of 1985-87. Our analysis shows that American unions have a larger effect on wages but not on other outcomes than unions in other countries. We argue that the high union premium in the U.S. contributed to the decline in U.S. union density and to the consequent divergence of the U.S. industrial relations system from those in most OECD countries. Looking to the future, our findings suggest that U.S. unions must make major innovations in their tactics and policies to regain a position of strength in the private sector and that the nation will have to develop new industrial relations institutions to avoid the Congress and the judiciary intervening frequently in workplace decisions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3342.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3342.

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Date of creation: Apr 1990
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3342

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Cited by:
  1. Corneo, G., 1992. "Semi-Unionized Bargaining with Endogenous Membership and Management Opposition," DELTA Working Papers 92-13, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Daniele Checchi & Jelle Visser, 2002. "Pattern persistence in european trade union density," Departmental Working Papers 2002-01, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  3. Jelle Visser, 2001. "WP 4 - Pattern persistence in European trade union density," AIAS Working Papers wp4, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  4. Corneo, Giacomo & Lucifora, Claudio, 1997. "Wage formation under union threat effects: Theory and empirical evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 265-292, September.
  5. Lixin Cai & Amy Y.C. Liu, 2007. "Union Wage Effects in Australia: Are There Variations in Distribution?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2007n017, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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