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Union decline in Britain

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  • Machin, Stephen

Abstract

n this paper I consider the rapid decline in the unionization rate that has occurred in Britain since the late 1970s. An establishment based analysis reports that the overwhelming factor in explaining falling unionization was a failure to organise the new sorts of establishments that were set up in the last twenty years or so. Patterns showing low rates of union recognition and density in new establishments set up in the 1980s and 1990s are seen to be very similar for new workplaces in both decades, reflecting that the developments since 1990 represent a continuation of the pattern revealed in earlier work for the 1980-90 period. The sharpest falls in unionization occurred in private manufacturing establishments set up post-1980, with significant falls also occurring, but from a lower initial level, in private sector services. In the public sector there is no establishment age based decline in recognition. Finally, there is some evidence that age of workplace, rather than age of worker, is the critical age based factor. This seems to be the case as the negative association between unionization and the post-1980 set up of the establishment is found to hold for workers of all ages.

Suggested Citation

  • Machin, Stephen, 2000. "Union decline in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20191, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20191
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20191/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Disney & Amanda Gosling & Stephen Machin, 1994. "British unions in decline: an examination of the 1980s fall in trade union recognition," IFS Working Papers W94/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Disney, Richard & Gosling, Amanda & Machin, Stephen, 1996. "What Has Happened to Union Recognition in Britain?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 1-18, February.
    3. Towers, Brian, 1997. "The Representation Gap: Change and Reform in the British and American Workplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289463.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Union recognition; union density; establishment age;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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