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Union Power, Cost of Job Loss, and Workers' Effort

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  • Francis Green
  • Steven McIntosh

Abstract

The authors hypothesize that the effectiveness of external threats in raising workers' effort is mediated by, among other labor market conditions, the presence or absence of a powerful union. In particular, they argue that because powerful unions reduce the potency of the external threat of job loss (by making it more difficult for employers to dismiss workers), the pace of work is less responsive to such a threat in strongly unionized plants than in weakly unionized plants. The results of an analysis of data from the 1990 Workplace Industrial Relations Survey in Britain support this hypothesis. The analysis also yields evidence that effort is increased where workers are rewarded individually according to results, and where there are various communication channels between workers and management.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 1998. "Union Power, Cost of Job Loss, and Workers' Effort," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 363-383, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:51:y:1998:i:3:p:363-383
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    Cited by:

    1. César Rodríguez Gutiérrez & Juan Francisco Canal Domínguez, 2012. "Is Workers' Effort Sensitive to Contract Type and Firm Ownership? The Spanish Case," Revista de Economía Laboral - Spanish Journal of Labour Economics, Asociación Española de Economía Laboral - AEET, vol. 9, pages 1-27.
    2. Michelle Brown & John Heywood, 2009. "Helpless in Finance: The Cost of Helping Effort Among Bank Employees," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 30(2), pages 176-195, June.
    3. Francis Green, 2002. "Why Has Work Effort Become More Intense?," Studies in Economics 0207, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    4. Gary Slater & David A. Spencer, 2014. "Workplace relations, unemployment and finance-dominated capitalism," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 2(2), pages 134-146, April.
    5. Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2005. "Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2005-17, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    6. Frederick Guy & Peter Skott, 2008. "Information and Communications Technologies, Coordination and Control, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(3-4), pages 71-92, September.
    7. K Clark & M Tomlinson, 2001. "The Determinants of Work Effort: Evidence from the Employment in Britain Survey," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0113, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    8. Nancy Bertaux & Hervé Queneau, 2002. "The social economics of job security," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 1-19, September.
    9. Francis Green, 2000. "Why has Work Effort become more intense? Conjectures and Evidence about Effort-Biased Technical Change and other stories," Studies in Economics 0003, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    10. Francis Green, 1999. "It's been a hard day's night: The concentration and intensification of work in late 20th century Britain," Studies in Economics 9913, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    11. Fumio Ohtake, 2003. "Unions, the Costs of Job Loss, and Vacation," NBER Chapters,in: Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States, pages 371-390 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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