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Gender Differences in the Union Wage Premium? A Comparative Case Study

Author

Listed:
  • Alex Bryson

    () (University College London, National Institute of Social and Economic Research and Institute for the Study of Labor)

  • Harald Dale-Olsen

    (Institute for Social Research)

  • Kristine Nergaard

    (Fafo)

Abstract

Trade unions have transformed from male-dominated organisations rooted in manufacturing to majority-female organisations serving predominantly white-collar workers, often in the public sector. Adopting a comparative case study approach using nationally representative linked employer-employee surveys for Norway and Britain we examine whether, in keeping with a median voter model, the gender shift in union membership has resulted in differential wage returns to unionisation among men and women. In Britain, while only women receive a union wage premium, only men benefit from the increased bargaining power of their union as indicated by workplace union density. In Norway, on the other hand, although a union wage premium arises from individual union membership for men and women in male-dominated unions, in workplaces where the union is female-dominated women benefit more than men from the increased bargaining power of the union as union density rises. The findings suggest British unions continue to adopt a paternalistic attitude to representing their membership, in contrast to their more progressive counterparts in Norway.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Bryson & Harald Dale-Olsen & Kristine Nergaard, 2016. "Gender Differences in the Union Wage Premium? A Comparative Case Study," DoQSS Working Papers 16-15, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1615
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke, 2011. "Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline In Germany And Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 490-518, September.
    2. Schnabel, Claus, 2012. "Union membership and density: Some (not so) stylized facts and challenges," Discussion Papers 81, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    3. Swaffield, Joanna, 2000. "Gender, motivation, experience and wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20188, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Balsvik, Ragnhild & Sæthre, Morten, 2014. "Rent Sharing with Footloose Production. Foreign Ownership and Wages Revisited," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 30/2014, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    5. Barth, Erling & Raaum, Oddbjorn & Naylor, Robin, 2000. "Union Wage Effects: Does Membership Matter?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(3), pages 259-275, June.
    6. Joanna Swaffield, 2000. "Gender, Motivation, Experience and Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0457, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Susan Harkness, 1996. "The gender earnings gap: evidence from the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 1-36, May.
    8. Brown , W. & Bryson , A. & Forth , J., 2008. "Competition and the Retreat from Collective Bargaining," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0831, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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    Cited by:

    1. Forth, John & Bryson, Alex, 2018. "State Substitution for the Trade Union Good: The Case of Paid Holiday Entitlements," IZA Discussion Papers 11615, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade unions; Collective bargaining; Union density; Wage premium; Gender;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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