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Trade Union Growth and Decline in Asia


  • Sarosh Kuruvilla
  • Subesh Das
  • Hyunji Kwon
  • Soonwon Kwon


We examine trends in union density and union influence in several Asian countries. Though we find variation in union density, all countries experienced union decline in the 1990s. Asian countries also vary on our new union influence measure. We use a logics of action framework to examine the institutional context surrounding union growth, decline and influence in each country. Based on our examination of how these institutional contexts are changing, and what we know about the strategies of unions, we are not hopeful regarding the near term prospects for reversing union decline. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd/London School of Economics 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarosh Kuruvilla & Subesh Das & Hyunji Kwon & Soonwon Kwon, 2002. "Trade Union Growth and Decline in Asia," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 431-461, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:40:y:2002:i:3:p:431-461

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    Cited by:

    1. Hylke Vandenbussche & Maurizio Zanardi, 2008. "What explains the proliferation of antidumping laws?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 93-138, January.
    2. Rene Ofreneo & Peter Wad, 2010. "Industrial Relations and Labour Market Conditions," Chapters,in: The New Political Economy of Southeast Asia, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. repec:ilo:ilowps:485863 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Huang, Li-Hsuan & Huang, Julia Hsin-Yi, 2013. "Does Labor Market Rigidity Matter for Economic Performance? Evidence from the Four Asian Tigers," MPRA Paper 57905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jean Jenkins, 2013. "Across Boundaries: The Global Challenges Facing Workers and Employment Research 50th Anniversary Special Issue," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 51(3), pages 623-643, September.
    6. Dong-One Kim & Yoon-Ho Kim & Paula Voos & Hiromasa Suzuki & Young Doo Kim, 2015. "Evaluating Industrial Relations Systems of OECD Countries from 1993 to 2005: A Two-Dimensional Approach," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 53(4), pages 645-663, December.
    7. Pawan Budhwar & Yaw Debrah, 2009. "Future research on human resource management systems in Asia," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 197-218, June.
    8. Lawrence, Sophia. & Ishikawa, Junko., 2005. "Trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage : statistical concepts, methods and findings," ILO Working Papers 994858633402676, International Labour Organization.
    9. Ensar Yilmaz & Sayin San, 2017. "Wage gap and dispersion in a partially unionized structure in Turkey," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 577-597, March.
    10. Santanu Sarkar & Andy Charlwood, 2014. "Do cultural differences explain differences in attitudes towards unions? Culture and attitudes towards unions among call centre workers in Britain and India," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 56-76, January.

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