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How trade unions increase welfare

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  • Alejandro Donado
  • Klaus Wa¨lde

Abstract

Historically, worker movements have played a crucial role in making workplaces safer. Firms traditionally oppose better health standards. According to our interpretation, workplace safety is costly for firms but increases the average health of workers and thereby the aggregate labour supply. A laissez-faire approach in which firms set safety standards is suboptimal as workers are not fully informed of health risks associated with jobs. Safety standards set by better-informed trade unions are output and welfare increasing.
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Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Donado & Klaus Wa¨lde, 2012. "How trade unions increase welfare," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 990-1009, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i:563:p:990-1009
    DOI: j.1468-0297.2012.02513.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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