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Did Globalization Reduce Unionisation? Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing

  • Elisabetta Magnani

    (The University of New South Wales)

  • David Prentice


    (School of Economics, La Trobe University)

How do globalization economic conditions affect labour market institutions such as unionism? We draw on recent theoretical and empirical work to yield a more comprehensive set of hypotheses related to the decline in unionisation. Furthermore, we extend recent theoretical work to highlight a direct role for competition (domestic and international) in determining unionisation. This paper uses a unique data set of U.S. three-digit manufacturing industries from 1972 to 1994 to test the hypothesis that domestic and international competition reduce unionisation. The main finding is that in spite of the importance of quasi-rents to explain unionisation, foreign and domestic competition are also significant determinants of unionisation.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, La Trobe University in its series Working Papers with number 2000.17.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trb:wpaper:2000.17
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  1. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1990. "Product Market Competition, Union Organizing Activity, and Employer Resistence," NBER Working Papers 3353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. David A. Macpherson & James B. Stewart, 1990. "The effect of international competition on union and nonunion wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(4), pages 434-446, April.
  4. Edward C. Kokkelenberg & Donna R. Sockell, 1985. "Union membership in the United States, 1973û1981," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(4), pages 497-543, July.
  5. Noel Gaston & Daniel Trefler, 1994. "Protection, trade, and wages: Evidence from U.S. manufacturing," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 574-593, July.
  6. John M. ABOWD & Laurence ALLAIN, 1996. "Compensation Structure and Product Market Competition," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 41-42, pages 207-217.
  7. Richard B. Freeman, 1985. "The Effect of the Union Wage Differential on Management Opposition and Union Organizing Success," NBER Working Papers 1748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert C. Feenstra, 1996. "U.S. Imports, 1972-1994: Data and Concordances," NBER Working Papers 5515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ramey, Valerie A, 1989. "Inventories as Factors of Production and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 338-54, June.
  10. Edwards, Richard & Swaim, Paul, 1986. "Union-Nonunion Earnings Differentials and the Decline of Private-Sector Unionism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 97-102, May.
  11. Barry T. Hirsch, 1980. "The determinants of unionization: An analysis of interarea differences," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(2), pages 147-161, January.
  12. 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.
  13. Orley Ashenfelter & George E. Johnson, 1971. "Unionism, Relative Wages, and Labor Quality in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 382, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. 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.
  15. Revenga, Ana L, 1992. "Exporting Jobs? The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U.S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-84, February.
  16. Farber, H.S. & Abowd, J.M., 1990. "Product Market Competition, Union Organizing Activity, And The Employer Resistance," Working papers 551, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Industrial Wage and Employment Determination in an Open Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 235-259 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Green, Francis, 1990. "Trade Union Availability and Trade Union Membership in Britain," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 58(4), pages 378-94, December.
  20. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
  21. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. Macpherson, 1993. "Union Membership and Coverage Files from the Current Population Surveys: Note," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 574-578, April.
  22. Clark, Kim B, 1984. "Unionization and Firm Performance: The Impact on Profits, Growth, and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 893-919, December.
  23. Farber, Henry S, 1990. "The Decline of Unionization in the United States: What Can Be Learned from Recent Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S75-105, January.
  24. Hirsch, Barry T., 1990. "Market structure, union rent seeking, and firm profitability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 75-79, January.
  25. Abowd, John M, 1989. "The Effect of Wage Bargains on the Stock Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 774-800, September.
  26. Robert C. Feenstra, 1997. "U.S. Exports, 1972-1994: With State Exports and Other U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 5990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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