IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Unionism and Peer-Referencing

  • Panos, Georgios
  • Theodossiou, Ioannis
Registered author(s):

    This study assesses the "fair-wage-effort" hypothesis, by examining (a) the relationship between relative wage comparisons and job satisfaction and quitting intensions, and (b) the relative ranking of stated effort inducing-incentives, in a novel dataset of unionised and non-unionised European employees. By distinguishing between downward and upward-looking wage comparisons, it is shown that wage comparisons to similar workers exert an asymmetric impact on the job satisfaction of union workers, a pattern consistent with inequity-aversion and conformism to the reference point. Moreover, union workers evaluate peer observation and good industrial relations more highly than payment and other incentives. In contrast, non-union workers are found to be more status-seeking in their satisfaction responses and less dependent on their peers in their effort choices The results are robust to endogenous union membership, considerations of generic loss aversion and across different tenure profiles. They are supportive of the individual egalitarian bias of collective wage determination and self-enforcing effort norms.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2010-03.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Feb 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2010-03
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
    Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
    Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Oswald, Andrew J, 1979. "Wage Determination in an Economy with Many Trade Unions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 369-85, November.
    2. Jennifer Smith, 1995. "Wage Interactions: Comparisons or Fall-back Options?," Bank of England working papers 37, Bank of England.
    3. Farber, Henry S & Saks, Daniel H, 1980. "Why Workers Want Unions: The Role of Relative Wages and Job Characteristics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 349-69, April.
    4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:94:y:1980:i:4:p:749-75 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Robert J. Flanagan, 1976. "Wage Interdependence in Unionized Labor Markets," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(3), pages 635-682.
    6. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence Using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 212-216, May.
    7. Ernst Fehr, 2003. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," Microeconomics 0305010, EconWPA.
    8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    9. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 407-426, April.
    10. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "The Exit-Voice Tradeoff in the Labor Market: Unionism, Job Tenure, Quits," NBER Working Papers 0242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Englmaier, Florian & Wambach, Achim, 2010. "Optimal incentive contracts under inequity aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 312-328, July.
    12. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
    13. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
    14. Banerjee, A.V. & Besley, T., 1990. "Peer Group Externalities And The Learning Incentives: A Theory Of Nerd Behavior," Papers 68, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
    15. Johannes Abeler & Stefen Altmann & Sebastian Kube & Matthias Wibral, 2009. "Gift Exchange and Workers' Fairness Concerns - When Equality Is Unfair," Discussion Papers 2009-11, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    16. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    17. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
    18. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    19. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:73-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-93.
    21. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:817-868 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:97:y:1982:i:4:p:543-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Rees, Albert, 1993. "The Role of Fairness in Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 243-52, January.
    24. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    25. David Kreps & Paul Milgrom & John Roberts & Bob Wilson, 2010. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 239, David K. Levine.
    26. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:3:p:797-817 is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
    28. George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    29. Edward P. Lazear, 1991. "Labor Economics and the Psychology of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 89-110, Spring.
    30. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    31. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 75-96, Spring.
    32. Frank, Robert H, 1984. "Are Workers Paid Their Marginal Products?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 549-71, September.
    33. David Card, 1998. "Falling Union Membership and Rising Wage Inequality: What's the Connection?," NBER Working Papers 6520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
    35. David Card, 2001. "The Effect of unions on wage inequality in the U.S. labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 296-315, January.
    36. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," NBER Working Papers 4678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-59, July.
    38. Okun, Arthur M, 1980. "Rational-Expectations-with-Misperceptions as a Theory of the Business Cycle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 817-25, November.
    39. Joni Hersch & Joe A. Stone, 1990. "Is Union Job Dissatisfaction Real?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4).
    40. Panos, Georgios A. & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2010. "Union Mediation and Adaptation to Reciprocal Loyalty Arrangements," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-119, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    41. Stewart, Mark B, 1982. "On Least Squares Estimation when the Dependent Variable is Grouped," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 207, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    42. Hirschman, Albert O, 1982. "Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1463-84, December.
    43. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    44. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2007. "Comparison Wage in Trade Union Decision Making," MPRA Paper 46287, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    45. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    46. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
    47. Baker, G.P. & Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Compensation And Incentives: Practice Vs. Theory," Papers 88-05, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    48. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
    49. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
    50. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    51. Joanne Martin, 1982. "The Fairness of Earnings Differentials: An Experimental Study of the Perceptions of Blue-Collar Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 110-122.
    52. Conlisk, John, 1980. "Costly optimizers versus cheap imitators," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 275-293, September.
    53. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:4:p:1039-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    54. Machin, Stephen, 1997. "The decline of labour market institutions and the rise in wage inequality in Britain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 647-657, April.
    55. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
    56. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:100:y:1985:i:1:p:253-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    57. Lemieux, Thomas, 1998. "Estimating the Effects of Unions on Wage Inequality in a Panel Data Model with Comparative Advantage and Nonrandom Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 261-91, April.
    58. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-33, June.
    59. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
    60. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:2:p:255-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    61. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 302-337.
    62. Larry Samuelson, 2004. "Information-Based Relative Consumption Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 93-118, 01.
    63. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
    64. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:3:p:871-915 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

    1. Economic Logic blog

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2010-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Liam Delaney)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.