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Does Union Membership Really Reduce Job Satisfaction?

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  • Alex Bryson
  • Lorenzo Cappellari
  • Claudio Lucifora

Abstract

We investigate the effect of union membership on job satisfaction. Using linked employer-employee data from the 1998 British Workplace Employee Relations Survey, we analyse the relationship between the membership decision and overall job satisfaction and satisfaction with pay. In this paper we account for the endogenous selection induced by the sorting of workers into unionized jobs. Controlling for both individual and establishment heterogeneity and explicitly modelling the effect of union status, we find that the marked difference in job satisfaction between unionized and non-unionized workers disappears, suggesting that a selection effect, rather than a causal effect, characterizes the relationship. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:42:y:2004:i:3:p:439-459
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-141, May.
    2. Miller, Paul W, 1990. "Trade Unions and Job Satisfaction," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(55), pages 226-248, December.
    3. Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora & Giulio Piccirilli, 2004. "Union Activism, Workers' Satisfaction and Organizational Change," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 18(1), pages 1-28, March.
    4. Bryson, Alex, 2002. "The union membership wage premium: an analysis using propensity score matching," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4953, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    6. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    7. George J. Borjas, 1979. "Job Satisfaction, Wages, and Unions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 21-40.
    8. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job Satisfaction, Trade Unions, and Exit-Voice Revisited," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
    9. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
    10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
    11. Joni Hersch & Joe A. Stone, 1990. "Is Union Job Dissatisfaction Real?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4).
    12. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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