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'Legal' versus 'Economic' factors in the growth and decline of unions: A stock-flow analysis of Canada and the US

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  • Susan Johnson
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    In the first part of this paper a union membership stock-flow growth accounting identity provides detailed descriptions of the impact of 'legal' and 'economic' factors on union density in Canada and the U.S. private sector. In the second part simulations are used to explore the impact of one legal factor - mandatory representation votes on the Canada-US union density gap and union density in Canada. The first simulation shows that mandatory votes explain 17 to 26 percent of the Canada-US union density gap. Differences between Canada and US mandatory vote procedures mean this is a very conservative estimate. The second simulation shows that the increasing use of mandatory votes across Canadian jurisdictions over time has reduced Canadian union density by less than 1 percentage point by 1995. From 1995 to 1998 the percentage of the Canadian labour force covered by mandatory vote legislation increased from 18% to 57%. In the future the negative effect of mandatory votes on Canadian union density will increase.

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    Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers with number 44.

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    Length: 56 pages
    Date of creation:
    Handle: RePEc:mcm:cilnwp:44
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    1. repec:fth:prinin:420 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:pri:indrel:dsp016t053f97m is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-979, July.
    4. W. Craig Riddell, 1993. "Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 109-148 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Henry S. Farber, 1999. "Union Success in Representation Elections: Why Does Unit Size Matter?," Working Papers 799, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Henry S. Farber, 1999. "Union Success in Representation Elections: Why Does Unit Size Matter?," NBER Working Papers 7229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Richard B. Freeman, 1987. "Contraction and Expansion: The Divergence of Private Sector and Public Sector Unionism in tht U.S," NBER Working Papers 2399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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