Trade Union Decline and the Distribution of Wages in the UK: Evidence from Kernel Density Estimation
This paper assesses the impact of changes in union density on the male structure in the United Kingdom over the 1980s. Using four separate data sets, the authors estimate the kernel density of hourly wages for men. Counterfactual densities are then generated to predict how the distribution of wages has changed over time because of the decline in union membership. They find that approximately 20 percent of the increase in the variance of log wages over the period can be attributed to changes in unionization. The effect is particularly strong in the latter part of the period. The authors also present disaggregated estimates of the impact of declining unionization. Their results are robust across all the data sets the authors examine and similar results are obtained if union coverage is used rather than union membership. Copyright 1998 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd
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