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Unions and Employment Growth: The One Constant?

Author

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  • Addison, John T.

    () (University of South Carolina)

  • Belfield, Clive R.

    () (Queens College, CUNY)

Abstract

Sequential analyses of the major workplace data sets available to British researchers – the Workplace Industrial/Employee Relations Surveys (WIRS/WERS) – have revealed shifts in some previously solid relationships between union presence and a variety of establishment performance indicators. So much so that it is now conventional to speak of a pronounced reduction in the 'disadvantages of unionism' in that country. One finding that seems to have persisted in cross section, however, is the negative effect of unions on employment growth. Following on a recent study of AWIRS (Wooden and Hawke, 2000), we reexamine the issue using new panel data from the WERS series, where workplaces were surveyed in 1990 and then followed-up in 1998. We report similar evidence of employment retardation in union regimes. Moreover, use of the panel also hints that some other unfavorable union effects may be longer standing than suggested in cross-section work.

Suggested Citation

  • Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2002. "Unions and Employment Growth: The One Constant?," IZA Discussion Papers 479, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp479
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Addison, John T. & Heywood, John S. & Wei, Xiangdong, 2001. "Unions and Plant Closings in Britain: New Evidence from the 1990/98 WERS," IZA Discussion Papers 352, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Martin Conyon & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "Shared Modes of Compensation and Firm Performance U.K. Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 109-146 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sue Fernie & David Metcalf, 1995. "Participation, Contingent Pay, Representation and Workplace Performance: Evidence from Great Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 379-415, September.
    4. Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2002. "Unions and Establishment Performance: Evidence from the British Workplace Industrial/Employee Relations Surveys," IZA Discussion Papers 455, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Blanchflower, David G & Millward, Neil & Oswald, Andrew J, 1991. "Unionism and Employment Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 815-834, July.
    6. Booth, Alison L & McCulloch, Andrew, 1999. "Redundancy Pay, Unions and Employment," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(3), pages 346-366, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2008. "Union Decline in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0864, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Addison, John T. & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2002. "Changes in Collective Bargaining in the U.K," IZA Discussion Papers 562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Alex Bryson & Michael White, 2006. "Unions, Within-Workplace Job Cuts and Job Security Guarantees," CEP Discussion Papers dp0733, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Brändle Tobias & Heinbach Wolf Dieter, 2013. "Opening Clauses in Collective Bargaining Agreements: More Flexibility to Save Jobs?," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 64(2), pages 159-192, August.
    5. Alex Bryson & Michael White, 2006. "Unions, Job Reductions and Job Security Guarantees: the Experience of British Employees," CEP Discussion Papers dp0745, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Bryson, Alex & Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2008. "A tale of two countries: unions, closures and growth in Britain and Norway," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19589, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2010. "Labor unions and productivity: An empirical analysis using Japanese firm-level data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 1030-1037, December.
    8. Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Patrice Laroche & Géraldine Schmidt & Heidi Wechtler, 2006. "L'influence des relations sociales sur la performance des entreprises," Post-Print hal-01010597, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    panel data; unions; employment growth; financial performance; labor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence

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