Unions and Innovation: A Survey of the Theory and Empirical Evidence
This Paper surveys the economic literature on the impact of trade unions on innovation. There are many theoretical routes through which unions may have an effect on innovation, for example through their effects on relative factor prices, profitability and their attitudes towards the introduction of new technology. Recent theoretical work has focused on the possibility that trade unions will ‘hold up’ firms by expropriating sunk R&D (research and development) investments through demanding higher rewards. The hold up problem may be mitigated (or exacerbated) by strategic incentives to compete in R&D races. In an attempt to resolve the theoretical ambiguity we focus on surveying recent micro-econometric results in the areas of R&D, innovation, technological diffusion and productivity growth. North American results find consistently strong and negative impacts of unions on R&D. By contrast, European studies (mainly in the UK) generally do not uncover negative effects of unions on R&D. There is no consensus of the effects of unions on our other main measures: technological diffusion, innovation or productivity growth even in the North American studies. These cross-country differences in the R&D impact of unions could represent either unsolved econometric problems or genuine institutional differences between nations in union attitudes and ability to bargain. We suspect the latter is the main reason.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Wendy Carlin & Andrew Glyn & John Van Reenen, 1999.
"Export Market Performance of OECD countries: an empirical examination of the role of cost competitiveness,"
IFS Working Papers
W99/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Carlin, Wendy & Glyn, Andrew & Van Reenen, John, 2001. "Export Market Performance of OECD Countries: An Empirical Examination of the Role of Cost Competitiveness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 128-62, January.
- Ulph, A. M. & Ulph, D. T., 1994. "Labour markets and innovation: Ex-post bargaining," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 195-210, January.
- repec:idb:brikps:42758 is not listed on IDEAS
- Albert N. Link, 1982. "Productivity Growth, Environmental Regulations and the Composition of R&D," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 548-554, Autumn.
- Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-90, September.
- Johnson, George E, 1990.
"Work Rules, Featherbedding, and Pareto-optimal Union-Management Bargaining,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S237-59, January.
- George E. Johnson, 1986. "Work Rules, Featherbedding, and Pareto-Optimal Union Management Bargaining," NBER Working Papers 1820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stewart, Mark B, 1995. "Union Wage Differentials in an Era of Declining Unionization," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(2), pages 143-66, May.
- John T. Addison & Joachim Wagner, 1994. "UK Unionism and Innovative Activity: Some Cautionary Remarks on the Basis of a Simple Cross-country Test," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 85-98, 03.
- Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2002. "Patents, Real Options and Firm Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C97-C116, March.
- Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998.
"Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1215-1244.
- Machin, S. & Van Reenen, J., 1997. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," Papers 24, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and changes in skill structure: evidence from seven OECD countries," IFS Working Papers W98/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Addison, John T & Chilton, John B, 1998. "Self-Enforcing Union Contracts: Efficient Investment and Employment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71(3), pages 349-69, July.
- Chennells, Lucy & Van Reenen, John, 1997. "Technical Change and Earnings in British Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(256), pages 587-604, November.
- Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-73, December.
- Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1992. "Unions and innovation : Evidence from German micro data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 369-373, July.
- Machin, S. & Wadhwani, S., 1989. "The Effects Of Unions On Organizational Change, Investment And Employment: Evidence From Wirs," Papers 355, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
- repec:idb:wpaper:3157 is not listed on IDEAS
- Geroski, P A, 1990. "Innovation, Technological Opportunity, and Market Structure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 586-602, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3792. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct email address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.