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Are Good Industrial Relations Good for the Economy?

  • John T. Addison
  • Paulino Teixeira

Recent US microeconomic analysis indicates that good industrial relations might improve firm performance. Of late, it has also been claimed that the benefits of industrial relations quality - proxied inversely by a strikes variable - could also extend to the macroeconomy. Using cross-country data, we find that, independent of other labor market institutions, a lower strike volume is associated with lower unemployment. Although there is a separate line of causation running from unemployment to strikes, our analysis suggests that this is not dominant. That said, support for the notion that macro performance owes something to good industrial relations is, however, weakened once we formally control for strike endogeneity. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 10 (2009)
Issue (Month): (08)
Pages: 253-269

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:10:y:2009:i::p:253-269
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  1. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira, 2003. "The Economics of Employment Protection," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 24(1), pages 85-129, January.
  2. John T. Addison, 2005. "The Determinants of Firm Performance: Unions, Works Councils, and Employee Involvement/High Performance Work Practices," GEMF Working Papers 2005-03, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  3. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  4. Harry C. Katz & Thomas A. Kochan & Kenneth R. Gobeille, 1983. "Industrial relations performance, economic performance, and QWL programs: An interplant analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 3-17, October.
  5. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  6. William Hauk & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "A Monte Carlo study of growth regressions," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-147, June.
  7. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2002. "Strikes, Scabs and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Working Papers 125, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  8. Belot, Michèle & van Ours, Jan C, 2000. "Does the Recent Success of some OECD Countries in Lowering their Unemployment Rates lie in the Clever Design of their Labour Market Reforms?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2492, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  10. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 255-281, 06.
  11. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  12. Feldmann, Horst, 2008. "The quality of industrial relations and unemployment around the world," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 200-203, April.
  13. Morris M. Kleiner & Jonathan S. Leonard & Adam M. Pilarski, 2002. "How industrial relations affects plant performance: The case of commercial aircraft manufacturing," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(2), pages 195-218, January.
  14. Alan Harrison & Mark B. Stewart, 1993. "Strike Duration and Strike Size," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(4), pages 830-49, November.
  15. Soskice, David, 1990. "Wage Determination: The Changing Role of Institutions in Advanced Industrialized Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 36-61, Winter.
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