Going Different Ways: Unionism in the U.S. and Other Advanced O.E.C.D. Countries
David G. Blanchflower
Richard B. Freeman
In this paper we compare the changing pattern of unionization in OECD
countries, review eXisting evidence, and present new information on crosscountry
differences in union-nonunion differentials in labor market outcomes,
largely from the micro data files of the International Social Survey Programme
cross-country surveys of 1985-87.
Our analysis shows that American unions have a larger effect on wages but
not on other outcomes than unions in other countries. We argue that the high
union premium in the U.S. contributed to the decline in U.S. union density and
to the consequent divergence of the U.S. industrial relations system from those
in most OECD countries. Looking to the future, our findings suggest that U.S.
unions must make major innovations in their tactics and policies to regain a
position of strength in the private sector and that the nation will have to
develop new industrial relations institutions to avoid the Congress and the
judiciary intervening frequently in workplace decisions.
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