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Title: The impact of unions on economic performance : empirical tests using British micro-data
Author: Machin, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0001 1059 2570
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1988
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To date, most applied econometric work analysing the effects of British trade unions has concentrated on their effect on relative wages. However, a considerable body of U.S. evidence suggests that unions significantly influence other economic variables. This thesis attempts to explore some of these issues using British data and uses econometric techniques to consider the effects of unions on productivity, profitability and the relationship between unionism and schemes which link workers' pay to performance. As the tendency in recent years has been for collective bargaining to take place at the level of the plant or Arm in Britain the study prefers to use micro-economic data and several such data sources are accessed. The main finding is that trade unions certainly exert a significant influence on the behaviour of plants and firms in Britain in the early 1980's. Unions are found to reduce productivity in larger firms but have no impact in small firms in a sample of engineering firms. Using data on large British firms the union impact on profitability is observed to be negative but more marked in situations of market power so that unions effectively re-channel excess profits from capital to labour. The union impact on the financial performance of two large cross-sections of British establishments is also found to be negative and again more marked where these plants are able to exert some degree of product market power. Finally, union presence is positively related to the incidence of share ownership and profit sharing schemes unless strong unions are present when such schemes are no more likely to be present than in non-union workplaces. These results are of considerable interest and. despite the underlying macroeconomic and political climate, union activity is observed to have important economic effects in Britain in the early 1980's.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HC Economic History and Conditions ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor