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The Wage Impact of Trade Unions in the UK Public and Private Sectors

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  • DAVID G. BLANCHFLOWER
  • ALEX BRYSON

Abstract

There is a growing gap in the union membership wage premium between public and private-sector workers in the United Kingdom. Using the Labour Force Surveys of 1993-2006, the gap between the membership premium in the public and private sectors closes with the addition of three-digit occupational controls, although significant wage premia remain in both sectors. However, using the Workplace Employment Relations Survey of 2004, the public-sector union membership wage premium remains roughly twice the size of the private-sector membership premium, having accounted for workplace fixed effects and workers' occupations, job characteristics, qualifications and demographics. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2010. "The Wage Impact of Trade Unions in the UK Public and Private Sectors," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 92-109, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:77:y:2010:i:305:p:92-109
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "The Union Membership Wage-Premium Puzzle: Is There a Free Rider Problem?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(3), pages 402-421, April.
    2. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 389-432, August.
    3. Forth, John & Millward, Neil, 2002. "Union effects on pay levels in Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 547-561, September.
    4. Bryson, Alex & Gomez, Rafael, 2005. "Why have workers stopped joining unions? Accounting for the rise in never-membership in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 360, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Henry Farber, 2003. "Nonunion Wage Rates and the Threat of Unionization," NBER Working Papers 9705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J & Garrett, Mario D, 1990. "Insider Power in Wage Determination," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 57(226), pages 143-170, May.
    7. S. Rosen, 1969. "Trade Union Power, Threat Effects and the Extent of Organization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 185-196.
    8. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1982. "Job Queues and the Union Status of Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 354-367, April.
    9. Henry S. Farber, 2003. "Nonunion Wage Rates and the Threat of Unionization," Working Papers 112, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    10. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
    11. repec:eee:labchp:v:2:y:1986:i:c:p:1139-1181 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "International Patterns of Union Membership," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, March.
    13. repec:pri:cepsud:90farber is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Freeman, Richard B & Medoff, James L, 1981. "The Impact of the Percentage Organized on Union and Nonunion Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 561-572, November.
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    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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