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Why So Unhappy? The Effects of Unionization on Job Satisfaction

  • Alex Bryson
  • Lorenzo Cappellari
  • Claudio Lucifora

Using linked employer-employee data we investigate the job satisfaction effect of union membership in Britain. We develop a model that simultaneously controls for the determinants of individual membership status and for the selection of employees into occupations according to union coverage. We find a negative association between membership and satisfaction. However, having accounted for selection effects, we find that the negative association is confined to non-covered employees. This is consistent with 'voice' effects, whereby non-covered members voice dissatisfaction to achieve union goals, and with the possibility that membership increases preferences for collective bargaining, thus lowering members' satisfaction in non-covered environments. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the Department of Economics, University of Oxford, 2010.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0084.2010.00587.x
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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Oxford in its journal Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 72 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (06)
Pages: 357-380

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Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:72:y:2010:i:3:p:357-380
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  1. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job satisfaction, trade unions, and exit-voice revisited," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
  2. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1982. "Job queues and the union status of workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 354-367, April.
  3. 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, 09.
  4. Michael E. Gordon & Angelo S. Denisi, 1995. "A re-examination of the relationship between union membership and job satisfaction," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 222-236, January.
  5. Susan Schwochau, 1987. "Union effects on job attitudes," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(2), pages 209-224, January.
  6. Joni Hersch & Joe A. Stone, 1990. "Is Union Job Dissatisfaction Real?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4).
  7. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  8. Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "The union membership wage-premium puzzle: Is there a free rider problem?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(3), pages 402-421, April.
  9. Andrew Clark, . "Job Satisfaction and Gender. Why are Women so Happy at Work?," Economics Discussion Papers 415, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  10. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Segmentation, Switching Costs and the Demand for Unionization in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0568, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. John S. Heywood & W. S. Siebert & Xiangdong Wei, 2002. "Worker Sorting and Job Satisfaction: The Case of Union and Government Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 595-609, July.
  12. George J. Borjas, 1979. "Job Satisfaction, Wages, and Unions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 21-40.
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