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Why So Unhappy? The Effects of Unionisation on Job Satisfaction

  • Bryson, Alex

    ()

    (National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR))

  • Cappellari, Lorenzo

    ()

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Lucifora, Claudio

    ()

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

We use linked employer-employee data to investigate the job satisfaction effect of unionisation in Britain. We depart from previous studies by developing a model that simultaneously controls for the endogeneity of union membership and union recognition. We show that a negative association between membership and satisfaction only emerges where there is a union recognised for bargaining, and that such an effect vanishes when the simultaneous selection into membership and recognition is taken into account. We also show that ignoring endogenous recognition would lead to conclude that membership has a positive effect on satisfaction. Our estimates indicate that the unobserved factors that lead to sorting across workplaces are negatively related to the ones determining membership and positively related with those generating satisfaction, a result that we interpret as being consistent with the existence of queues for union jobs.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1498.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2010, 72 (3), 357-380
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1498
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1979. "Job Satisfaction, Wages, and Unions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 21-40.
  2. Keith A. Bender & Peter J. Sloane, 1998. "Job satisfaction, trade unions, and exit-voice revisited," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 222-240, January.
  3. Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "The union membership wage-premium puzzle: Is there a free rider problem?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(3), pages 402-421, April.
  4. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1982. "Job queues and the union status of workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 354-367, April.
  5. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Segmentation, switching costs and the demand for unionization in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4947, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Clark, A.E., 1995. "Job Satisfaction and Gender: Why Are Women so Happy at Work?," DELTA Working Papers 95-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Michael E. Gordon & Angelo S. Denisi, 1995. "A re-examination of the relationship between union membership and job satisfaction," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 222-236, January.
  8. John S. Heywood & W. S. Siebert & Xiangdong Wei, 2002. "Worker Sorting and Job Satisfaction: The Case of Union and Government Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 595-609, July.
  9. Alex Bryson & Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2003. "Does Union Membership Really Reduce Job Satisfaction?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0569, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  11. Susan Schwochau, 1987. "Union effects on job attitudes," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(2), pages 209-224, January.
  12. Joni Hersch & Joe A. Stone, 1990. "Is Union Job Dissatisfaction Real?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4).
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