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The Role and Influence of Trade Unions in the OECD

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  • David Blanchflower

Abstract

In this report the role of trade unions in the United States is compared with those in eighteen other OECD countries using micro-data at the level of the individual. The main findings are as follows: 1. The declines in union density experiences in the US in the last thirty years are not typical of the OECD. 2. There are many similarities across countries in who joins unions. 3. The union-nonunion wage differential in the US is approximately 15%. Unions in most other countries appear to raise wages by less. 4. Unions reduce total hours of work. The size of the effect appears to be relatively small in the US. The paper concludes that the contraction in US union density is driven by what unions do on the wage front. If unions wish to survive they will have to emphasize their collective voice role rather than their monopoly face.

Suggested Citation

  • David Blanchflower, 1996. "The Role and Influence of Trade Unions in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0310, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0310
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    Cited by:

    1. Checchi, Daniele & Visser, Jelle & van de Werfhorst, Herman G., 2007. "Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 2691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Jennifer Hunt, 1998. "Hours Reductions as Work-Sharing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 339-381.
    3. Arzu Yavuz, 2011. "Productivity and Wage Differentials between Private and Public Sector in the Developing Countries (Gelismekte Olan Ülkelerde Özel ve Kamu Sektöründeki Verimlilik ve Ücret Farklilasmasi)," Working Papers 1103, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
    4. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Sabirianova Peter, Klara, 2007. "Public sector pay and corruption: Measuring bribery from micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 963-991, June.
    5. Wolfgang Ochel, 2001. "Geht der Einfluss der Gewerkschaften auf die Lohnbildung international zurück?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 54(05), pages 44-46, October.
    6. Aidt, T.S. & Tzannatos, Z., 2005. "The Cost and Benefits of Collective Bargaining," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0541, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Ugo Panizza, 1999. "Why Do Lazy People Make More Money?: The Strange Case of the Public Sector Wage Premium," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1896, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. Ugo Panizza, 1999. "¿Por qué la gente floja gana más dinero? El extraño caso de la prima salarial del sector público," Research Department Publications 4177, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3573-3630 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Zhuravleva, Tatiana, 2015. "Analysis of the Factors of Wages Differentiation in the Public and Private Sectors of the Russian Economy," Published Papers mn10, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    11. Torberg Falch, 2004. "Wage Bargaining and Employer Objectives," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(4), pages 515-534, July.
    12. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3029-3084 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. John Pencavel, 2009. "How Successful Have Trade Unions Been? A Utility-Based Indicator of Union Well-Being," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(2), pages 147-156, January.
    14. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
    15. Gabriela Miranda Moriconi & João S. Moura Neto & Nelson Marconi & Paulo Roberto Arvate, 2006. "Evidências Sobre O Comportamento Dos Governos Estaduais Na Determinação Dos Salários Dos Servidores Públicos No Brasil," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 135, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    16. Laszlo Goerke, 1998. "Privatization and efficiency wages," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 243-264, October.
    17. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2003. "What Effect do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would 'What Do Unions Do' Be Surprised?," NBER Working Papers 9973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330.
    19. Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Daniele Checchi, 2000. "Time series evidence on union densities in European countries," Departmental Working Papers 2000-10, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    21. Helge Sanner, 2006. "Imperfect goods and labor markets, and the union wage gap," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(1), pages 119-136, February.
    22. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2002. "Changes over time in union relative wage effects in the UK and the US revisited," NBER Working Papers 9395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Oh, Seung-Yun & Park, Yongjin & Bowles, Samuel, 2012. "Veblen effects, political representation, and the reduction in working time over the 20th century," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 218-242.
    24. Gabriela Miranda & Nelson Marconi, 2008. "Os salários dos professores públicos são atrativos no Brasil?," Anais do XXXVI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 36th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200807211605210, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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