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Does union membership really reduce job satisfaction?

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  • Bryson, Alex
  • Cappellari, Lorenzo
  • Lucifora, Claudio

Abstract

We investigate the effect of union membership on job satisfaction. Whilst it is common to study the effects of union status on satisfaction treating individual membership as given, in this paper, we account for the endogenous selection induced by the sorting of workers into unionised jobs. Using linked employer-employee data from the 1998 British Workplace Employee Relations Survey, we address the question of how the membership decision is related to overall job satisfaction and to satisfaction with pay. Once the endogeneity of membership is accounted for, the marked difference in job satisfaction between unionised and non-unionised workers characterising raw data disappears, indicating that a selection effect, rather than a causal effect, explains the relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryson, Alex & Cappellari, Lorenzo & Lucifora, Claudio, 2003. "Does union membership really reduce job satisfaction?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20045, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20045
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20045/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-141, May.
    2. Miller, Paul W, 1990. "Trade Unions and Job Satisfaction," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(55), pages 226-248, December.
    3. Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora & Giulio Piccirilli, 2004. "Union Activism, Workers' Satisfaction and Organizational Change," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 18(1), pages 1-28, March.
    4. Bryson, Alex, 2002. "The union membership wage premium: an analysis using propensity score matching," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4953, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    6. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    7. George J. Borjas, 1979. "Job Satisfaction, Wages, and Unions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 21-40.
    8. 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.
    9. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
    10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
    11. Joni Hersch & Joe A. Stone, 1990. "Is Union Job Dissatisfaction Real?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4).
    12. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job satisfaction; Trade unions; Linked employer-employee data;

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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