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Are Good Industrial Relations Good for the Economy?

  • John T. Addison

    (QueenÕs University Belfast (U.K.) and GEMF, Portugal and The Rimini Centre for Economics Analysis, Italy.)

  • Paulino Teixeira

    (Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal and GEMF, Portugal)

Using international data, we investigate whether the quality of industrial relations matters for the macro economy. We measure industrial relations inversely by strikes Ð which proxy we cross-check with an industrial relations reputation indicator Ð and our macro performance indicator is the unemployment rate. Independent of the role of other institutions, good industrial relations do seem to matter: greater strike volume is associated with higher unemployment. But these results apply in cross section. Holding country effects constant, the sign of the strikes coefficient is abruptly reversed. Although it does not seem to be the case that the line of causation runs from unemployment to strikes once we control for the endogeneity of strikes, it is also the case that support for the strikes proxy for industrial relations quality is much eroded.

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File URL: http://www.rcfea.org/RePEc/pdf/wp28_07.pdf
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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 28-07.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision: Jul 2007
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:28-07
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  1. Michèle Belot & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Does the recent success of some OECD countries in lowering their unemployment rates lie in the clever design of their labor market reforms?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 621-642, October.
  2. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "The course of research into the economic consequences of German works councils," Discussion Papers 22, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  3. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2003. "Strikes, Scabs and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," NBER Working Papers 9524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. John T. Addison, 2005. "The Determinants of Firm Performance: Unions, Works Councils, and Employee Involvement/High Performance Work Practices," GEMF Working Papers 2005-03, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  8. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  9. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  10. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira, 2003. "The Economics of Employment Protection," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 24(1), pages 85-129, January.
  11. Morris M. Kleiner & Jonathan S. Leonard & Adam M. Pilarski, 2002. "How industrial relations affects plant performance: The case of commercial aircraft manufacturing," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(2), pages 195-218, January.
  12. Feldmann, Horst, 2008. "The quality of industrial relations and unemployment around the world," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 200-203, April.
  13. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  14. Harry C. Katz & Thomas A. Kochan & Kenneth R. Gobeille, 1983. "Industrial relations performance, economic performance, and QWL programs: An interplant analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 3-17, October.
  15. Soskice, David, 1990. "Wage Determination: The Changing Role of Institutions in Advanced Industrialized Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 36-61, Winter.
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