The union membership wage-premium puzzle: is there a free rider problem?
Economists have long suggested that labor unions suffer a free rider problem. The argument is that, since union-set wages are available to all workers covered by unions irrespective of their union status, and union membership entails costs, workers will only join if they are coerced or are offered non-wage goods that they value above membership costs. Yet U.S. and British empirical research has found a substantial union membership wage premium among private-sector union-covered workers, implying that there is no free rider problem. The authors of this study hypothesize that these findings arise due to selectivity problems associated with identifying the union membership effect. Their analysis, which uses rich data from a new linked employer-employee survey for Britain and exploits the within-establishment variation in wages as a function of individual union membership status, demonstrates that the apparent wage premium for members is illusory. Hence, a potential free rider problem remains.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
|Date of creation:||01 May 2001|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK|
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK|
Web: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/ 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.:
- David Metcalf & Kirstine Hansen & Andy Charlwood, 2000. "Unions and the sword of justice: unions and pay systems, pay inequality, pay discrimination and low pay," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20195, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- John Ermisch & Marco Francesconi, 2000. "Educational Choice, Families, and Young People's Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 143-176.
- Booth, Alison L & Chatterji, Monojit, 1994.
"Union Membership and Wage Bargaining When Membership is Not Compulsory,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Booth, Alison L & Chatterji, Monojit, 1995. "Union Membership and Wage Bargaining When Membership is Not Compulsory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 345-360, March.
- A L Booth & M Chatterji, "undated". "Union Membership And Wage Bargaining When Membership Is Not Compulsory," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 048, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
- Robin Naylor, 1989. "Strikes, Free Riders, and Social Customs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 771-785.
- Budd, John W & Na, In-Gang, 2000.
"The Union Membership Wage Premium for Employees Covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 783-807, October.
- Budd, J.W. & Na, I.G., 1994. "The Union Membership Wage Premium for Employees Covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements," Papers 94-09, Minnesota - Industrial Relations Center.
- John Forth, 2000. "The determinants of pay levels and fringe benefit provision in Britain," NIESR Discussion Papers 171, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
- Blakemore, Arthur E & Hunt, Janet C & Kiker, B F, 1986. "Collective Bargaining and Union Membership Effects on the Wages of Male Youths," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 193-211, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2001-09. 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: (Jonathan Nears)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.