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Gender Differences in the Union Wage Premium? A Comparative Case Study

Listed author(s):
  • Bryson, Alex

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Dale-Olsen, Harald

    ()

    (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Nergaard, Kristine

    ()

    (Fafo)

Trade unions have transformed from male-dominated organisations rooted in manufacturing to majority-female organisations serving predominantly white-collar workers, often in the public sector. Adopting a comparative case study approach using nationally representative linked employer-employee surveys for Norway and Britain we examine whether, in keeping with a median voter model, the gender shift in union membership has resulted in differential wage returns to unionisation among men and women. In Britain, while only women receive a union wage premium, only men benefit from the increased bargaining power of their union as indicated by workplace union density. In Norway, on the other hand, although a union wage premium arises from individual union membership for men and women in male-dominated unions, in workplaces where the union is female-dominated women benefit more than men from the increased bargaining power of the union as union density rises. The findings suggest British unions continue to adopt a paternalistic attitude to representing their membership, in contrast to their more progressive counterparts in Norway.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10435.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10435
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  1. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke, 2011. "Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline In Germany And Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 490-518, 09.
  2. Joanna Swaffield, 2000. "Gender, motivation, experience and wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20188, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Barth, Erling & Raaum, Oddbjorn & Naylor, Robin, 2000. "Union Wage Effects: Does Membership Matter?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(3), pages 259-275, June.
  4. Schnabel, Claus, 2012. "Union membership and density: Some (not so) stylized facts and challenges," Discussion Papers 81, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  5. Brown , W. & Bryson , A. & Forth , J., 2008. "Competition and the Retreat from Collective Bargaining," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0831, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Balsvik, Ragnhild & Sæthre, Morten, 2014. "Rent Sharing with Footloose Production. Foreign Ownership and Wages Revisited," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 30/2014, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  7. Susan Harkness, 1996. "The gender earnings gap: evidence from the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 1-36, May.
  8. Joanna Swaffield, 2000. "Gender, Motivation, Experience and Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0457, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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