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Unions, Training, and Firm Performance: Evidence from the British Workplace Employee Relations Survey

  • Addison, John T.

    ()

    (University of South Carolina)

  • Belfield, Clive R.

    ()

    (Queens College, CUNY)

This paper uses a combination of workplace and matched-employee workplace data from the British 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey to examine the impact of unions and firm-provided training (incidence, intensity/coverage, and duration) on establishment performance. The performance effects of training are indexed not just by individual and median establishment earnings but also by subjective measures of plant labor productivity and financial performance. Union effects on training are fairly subtle, and somewhat more positive when using individual rather than plant-wide training data. A positive impact of training on earnings is also detected in both individual and plant-based wage data, although consistent with much recent research the effects of union recognition are at best muted. There are also some signs of a positive interaction term for unionism and training in the earnings equations, but by the same token negative effects are encountered when training duration is expressed in categorical terms and interacted with union recognition. Instrumenting training yielded positive results for labor productivity and the firm’s bottom line. While some negative effects of multiple unionism at the workplace now emerge, they seemingly do not operate through the training route.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1264.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Unions, Training, and Firm Performance' in: Journal of Labor Market Research/Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung, 2007, 40 (4), 361-381
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1264
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  1. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
  3. John Van Reenen, 2000. "Who gains when workers train? Training and corporate productivity in a panel of British industries," IFS Working Papers W00/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
  5. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "Training in Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 346-360, 04/05.
  6. Harry J. Holzer & Richard Block & Marcus Cheatham & Jack H. Knott, 1993. "Are training subsidies for firms effective? The Michigan experience," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 625-636, July.
  7. Barrett, Alan, 1998. "Does Training Generally Work? The Returns to In-Company Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1879, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. F Green & Stephen Machin & D Wilkinson, 1996. "Trade Unions and Training Practices in British Workplaces," CEP Discussion Papers dp0278, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Zwick, Thomas, 2002. "Continuous Training and Firm Productivity in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-50, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Harry J. Holzer & Richard N. Block & Marcus Cheatham & Jack H. Knott, 1993. "Are Training Subsidies for Firms Effective? The Michigan Experience," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 625-636, July.
  11. Elchanan Cohn & John Addison, 1998. "The Economic Returns to Lifelong Learning in OECD Countries," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 253-307.
  12. Menezes-Filho, Naercio & Van Reenen, John, 2003. "Unions and Innovation: A Survey of the Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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