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Has Globalisation Really had no Effect on Unions?

Authors

  • Axel Dreher,

    1. KOF Swiss Economics Institute. ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 35, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Noel Gaston

    1. School of Business, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4229, Australia
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    • *Dreher: KOF Swiss Economics Institute. ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 35, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland. Gaston: School of Business, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4229, Australia.


  • The authors are grateful to Michael Lamla, David Peetz, Sarah Rupprecht and Jan-Egbert Sturm for their comments. All errors, of omission and otherwise, are attributable to the authors alone.

Correspondence: ngaston@bond.edu.au.

SUMMARY

For a number of OECD countries, the deterioration of labour market outcomes for less-skilled workers since the early 1980s has coincided with a steady decline in union membership. Globalisation is commonly believed to have contributed to both developments. However, recent studies fail to find support for the presumption that globalisation adversely affects unions. Revisiting this issue by using a novel globalisation index we find that globalisation has indeed contributed to deunionisation. In delving further into the issue, we find that it is social integration, rather than economic or political integration, that has been the main contributor to the decline in union membership.

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