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A Re-Examination of the Relationship between Union Membership and Job Satisfaction

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  • Michael E. Gordon
  • Angelo S. Denisi

Abstract

Two seemingly contradictory findings reported in the recent industrial relations literature are that union members are less satisfied with their jobs than are nonmembers and yet are less inclined to leave their jobs. Because those results are based on several national probability samples, the authors argue that they may result from a sampling methodology that confounds union membership with working conditions. In this study, in contrast, which uses data from 1980 and 1986 on union members and nonmembers in three bargaining units in which union membership was not required, it is possible to control for working conditions when examining the effect of union membership on job satisfaction. The results across all three samples indicate no effect of union membership on either job satisfaction or the intent to quit.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael E. Gordon & Angelo S. Denisi, 1995. "A Re-Examination of the Relationship between Union Membership and Job Satisfaction," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 222-236, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:48:y:1995:i:2:p:222-236
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
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    3. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1991. "Changing the Social Security Rules for Work after 65," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 733-745, July.
    4. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Three Models of Retirement: Computational Complexity versus Predictive Validity," NBER Chapters,in: Topics in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Disaggregated, Structural Analysis of Retirement by Race, Difficulty of Work and Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 509-513.
    6. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Pension Plan Provisions and Retirement: Men & Women, Medicare, and Models," NBER Working Papers 4201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt.
    8. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Stock, James H. & Wise, David A., 1990. "Efficient windows and labor force reduction," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 131-159.
    9. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262060914, January.
    10. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Stock, James H. & Wise, David A., 1990. "Efficient windows and labor force reduction," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 131-159.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Gachter & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Retaining the Thin Blue Line: What shapes workers' willingness not to quit the current work environment?," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 253, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, revised 28 Oct 2009.
    2. Benno Torgler, 2011. "Work Values in Western and Eastern Europe," Working Papers 2011.94, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. Heather Antecol & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2009. "Racial harassment, job satisfaction, and intentions to remain in the military," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 713-738.
    4. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah, 2006. "The sexual harassment of female active-duty personnel: Effects on job satisfaction and intentions to remain in the military," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 55-80.
    5. C Green & J S Heywood, 2010. "Unions, Dissatisfied Workers and Sorting," Working Papers 615292, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    6. Heather Antecol & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2009. "Racial harassment, job satisfaction, and intentions to remain in the military," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 713-738.
    7. Blair, Benjamin, F. & Schwer, R. Keith & Waddoups, C. Jeffrey, 1998. "Gambling as an Economic Development Strategy: The Neglected Issue of Job Satisfaction and Nonpecuniary Income," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 28(1), pages 47-62, Summer.
    8. Robert D. Mohr & Cindy Zoghi, 2006. "Is Job Enrichment Really Enriching?," Working Papers 389, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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