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Union Wage Effects; Does Membership Matter?


  • Barth, E.
  • Naylor, R.
  • Raaum, O.


Using a matched employer-employee data set for Norway, we exploit rare information on the union status of both individual employees and their workplaces. We establish two key results. First, we find a positive effect of workplace trade union density on the level of the individual's pay in establishments covered by collective agreements. Second, we find that, conditioning on coverage, the individual union membership differential disappears after controlling for establishment-level union density. The union wage effect is therefore a pure public good, with individual membership conveying a positive wage externality. Copyright 2000 by Blackwell Publishers Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester
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Suggested Citation

  • Barth, E. & Naylor, R. & Raaum, O., 1995. "Union Wage Effects; Does Membership Matter?," Memorandum 09/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:1995_009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Bryson & Harald Dale-Olsen & Kristine Nergaard, 2016. "Gender Differences in the Union Wage Premium? A Comparative Case Study," DoQSS Working Papers 16-15, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    2. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2008. "Performance Pay and Within-Firm Wage Inequality," Discussion Papers 535, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    3. Andrews, Martyn J. & Stewart, Mark B. & Swaffield, Joanna K. & Upward, Richard, 1998. "The estimation of union wage differentials and the impact of methodological choices," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 449-474, December.
    4. Barth, Erling & Bryson, Alex & Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2017. "Union Density, Productivity and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 11111, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Erling Barth & Harald Dale-Olsen, 2011. "Employer Size or Skill Group Size Effect on Wages?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(2), pages 341-355, January.
    6. Bastos, Paulo & Kreickemeier, Udo & Wright, Peter, 2009. "Oligopoly, open shop unions and trade liberalisation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 679-686, November.
    7. Bernt Bratsberg & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2012. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence from Construction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(565), pages 1177-1205, December.
    8. Balsvik, Ragnhild & Sæthre, Morten, 2014. "Rent Sharing with Footloose Production. Foreign Ownership and Wages Revisited," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 30/2014, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    9. Manquilef-Bächler, Alejandra A. & Arulampalam, Wiji & Smith, Jennifer C., 2009. "Differences in Decline: Quantile Regression Analysis of Union Wage Differentials in the United Kingdom, 1991-2003," IZA Discussion Papers 4138, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Askildsen, Jan Erik & Nilsen, Oivind Anti, 2002. "Union membership and wage formation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 345-363, June.
    11. Sebastian Braun, 2009. "Should trade unions welcome foreign investors? First evidence from Danish matched employer-employee data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 1175-1181.
    12. Barth, Erling & Bratsberg, Bernt & Naylor, Robin A. & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2002. "Explaining Variations in Wage Curves: Theory and Evidence," Memorandum 03/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    wages ; labour unions;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs


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