The Wage Impact of Trade Unions in the UK Public and Private Sectors

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Abstract

There is a growing gap in the union membership wage premium between public and private-sector workers in the United Kingdom. Using the Labour Force Surveys of 1993–2006, the gap between the membership premium in the public and private sectors closes with the addition of three-digit occupational controls, although significant wage premia remain in both sectors. However, using the Workplace Employment Relations Survey of 2004, the public-sector union membership wage premium remains roughly twice the size of the private-sector membership premium, having accounted for workplace fixed effects and workers' occupations, job characteristics, qualifications and demographics.

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