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Has globalisation really had no effect on unions?

For a number of OECD countries, the deterioration of labour market outcomes for less-skilled workers since the early 1980’s has coincided with a steady decline in union membership. Globalisation is commonly believed to have contributed to both developments. However, recent studies fail to find support for the presumption that globalisation adversely affects unions. Revisiting this issue by using a novel globalisation index we find that globalisation has indeed contributed to deunionisation. In delving further into the issue, we find that it is social integration, rather than economic or political integration, that has been the main contributor to the decline in union membership.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 05-110.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:05-110
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  1. Michel Dumont & Glenn Rayp & Peter Willemé, 2006. "Does internationalization affect union bargaining power? An empirical study for five EU countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 77-102, January.
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  11. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1995. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 25-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Boockmann, Bernhard & Dreher, Axel, 2002. "The Contribution of the IMF and the World Bank to Economic Freedom," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-18, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  13. Gaston, Noel & Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "Union wage sensitivity to trade and protection: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 1-25, August.
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