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Union Voice

  • JOHN T. ADDISON
  • CLIVE R. BELFIELD

This paper offers a critical evaluation of the notion of collective voice, advanced by Freeman and Medoff (1984) in their pioneering contribution What Do Unions Do? It takes note of theoretical and empirical work supportive of/consistent with the collective voice/institutional response model, and tracks some development of the model. Equally, although much criticism of What Do Unions Do? has been wide of the mark, there are critical areas in which the model is deficient. These lacunae include, but are not restricted to, the lingering imprecision of collective voice; the problem of bargaining power which calls into question the distinction between collective voice/institutional response and the monopoly face of unionism; the over-emphasis upon worker dissatisfaction; and, relatedly, the neglect of individual voice. The bottom line is that the notion of union voice is urgently in need of restatement if it is to continue to shape research into the economic consequences of unions.

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Article provided by Transaction Publishers in its journal Journal of Labor Research.

Volume (Year): 25 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 563-596

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Handle: RePEc:tra:jlabre:v:25:y:2004:i:4:p:563-596
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  1. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "The course of research into the economic consequences of German works councils," Discussion Papers 22, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
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  5. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1979. "The Two Faces of Unionism," NBER Working Papers 0364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Barry T. Hirsch, 1991. "Labor Unions and the Economic Performance of Unions," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number luepf, November.
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  8. Bronars, Stephen G & Deere, Donald R, 1993. "Unionization, Incomplete Contracting, and Capital Investment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 117-32, January.
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  13. Andrew A. Luchak, 2003. "What Kind of Voice Do Loyal Employees Use?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(1), pages 115-134, 03.
  14. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "The Exit-Voice Tradeoff in the Labor Market: Unionism, Job Tenure, Quits," NBER Working Papers 0242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Fitzroy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1987. "Efficiency and Internal Organization: Works Councils in West German Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(216), pages 493-504, November.
  17. FitzRoy, Felix R. & Kraft, Kornelius, 1995. "On the choice of incentives in firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 145-160, January.
  18. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job Satisfaction, Trade Unions, and Exit-Voice Revisited," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
  19. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "The Exit-Voice Tradeoff in the Labor Market: Unionism, Job Tenure, Quits, and Separations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 643-673.
  20. Duncan, Greg J & Stafford, Frank P, 1980. "Do Union Members Receive Compensating Wage Differentials?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 355-71, June.
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  22. Addison, John T & Hirsch, Barry T, 1989. "Union Effects on Productivity, Profits, and Growth: Has the Long Run Arrived?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 72-105, January.
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