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

Author

Listed:
  • Bryson, Alex

    () (University College London)

  • Dale-Olsen, Harald

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Nergaard, Kristine

    () (Fafo)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryson, Alex & Dale-Olsen, Harald & Nergaard, Kristine, 2016. "Gender Differences in the Union Wage Premium? A Comparative Case Study," IZA Discussion Papers 10435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10435
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Susan Harkness, 1996. "The gender earnings gap: evidence from the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 1-36, May.
    4. Swaffield, Joanna, 2000. "Gender, motivation, experience and wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20188, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Joanna Swaffield, 2000. "Gender, Motivation, Experience and Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0457, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade unions; collective bargaining; union density; wage premium; gender;

    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
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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