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Productivity and trade unions in British manufacturing industry 1973-85

  • Kevin Denny

This paper uses panel data on british manufacturing industries between 1973 and 1985 to examine the relationship between productivity and labour organization. It is shown that the relationship between unions and productivity levels is sensitive to the econometric specification. The evidence points to there being no relationship in the 1970s when unions were more popular and a negative relationship from 1979 onwards. We also find evidence that industrial concentration is associated with higher levels of productivity and this accounts for more of the productivity recovery after the recession in the early 1980s than the impact of trade unions. The recession itself is shown to have had an impact on subsequent productivity growth. We also suggest that the long run gains in productivity caused by the shakeout of 1980-81 may not have compensated for the loss in output at the time.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00036849700000030
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (1997)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
Pages: 1403-1409

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:29:y:1997:i:10:p:1403-1409
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  1. Machin, Stephen J, 1991. "The Productivity Effects of Unionization and Firm Size in British Engineering Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(232), pages 479-90, November.
  2. Wadhwani, S., 1989. "The Effect Of Unions On Productivity Growth, Investment And Employment: A Report On Some Recent Work," Papers 356, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  3. Denny, K. & Nickell, S., 1990. "Unions And Investment In British Industry," Economics Series Working Papers 9992, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Muellbauer, John, 1984. "Aggregate Production Functions and Productivity Measurement: A New Look," CEPR Discussion Papers 34, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Bean, Charles R & Symons, James, 1989. "Ten Years of Mrs. T," CEPR Discussion Papers 316, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Charles Bean & James Symons, 1989. "Ten Years of Mrs. T," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 13-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nickell, S. & Komg, P., 1989. "Technical Progress And Jobs," Papers 366, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  8. Muellbauer, John, 1991. "Productivity and Competitiveness," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 99-117, Autumn.
  9. 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.
  10. Machin, Stephen J & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1991. "The Effects of Unions on Organisational Change and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 835-54, July.
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