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Labour Immigration and Union Strength

Author

Listed:
  • Finseraas, Henning

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Roed, Marianne

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

  • Schone, Pal

    () (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

Abstract

To what extent is labour mobility in the European Union a threat to the strength of unions? We argue that the combination of cheap labour, workforce heterogeneity, and low unionization among labour immigrants' is a potential challenge for unions. The challenge will be particularly severe if immigrant competition affects natives' propensity to unionize. We examine this claim using Norwegian administrative data in a natural experiment framework. The 2004 EU expansion led to a rapid increase in labour migration to the construction sector. Licensing demands, however, protected some workers from immigrant competition. Comparisons of protected and exposed workers reveal negative labour market effects of the EU expansion for exposed workers, but no effect on union membership. Our results question important theories of unionization and are relevant for research on immigration, political behaviour and collective action.

Suggested Citation

  • Finseraas, Henning & Roed, Marianne & Schone, Pal, 2018. "Labour Immigration and Union Strength," IZA Discussion Papers 11723, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11723
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hainmueller, Jens, 2012. "Entropy Balancing for Causal Effects: A Multivariate Reweighting Method to Produce Balanced Samples in Observational Studies," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 25-46, December.
    2. Garrett, Geoffrey, 1998. "Global Markets and National Politics: Collision Course or Virtuous Circle?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 787-824, September.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Can't We All Be More Like Scandinavians? Asymmetric Growth and Institutions in an Interdependent World," CEPR Discussion Papers 9113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Orley Ashenfelter & John H. Pencavel, 1969. "American Trade Union Growth: 1900–1960," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-448.
    5. Naylor, Robin & Cripps, Martin, 1993. "An economic theory of the open shop trade union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1599-1620, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; union; wages; employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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