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Unionization, Consumer Demand and Economic Performance in the UK

Filho, Naercio Aquino Menezes; (1997) Unionization, Consumer Demand and Economic Performance in the UK. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis investigates the impact of trade unionism and consumer behaviour on economic performance in Britain. The economic performance measures used in this research are profitability and the level of R&D expenditures. Firm and plant level data are used in the investigation and the main findings are as follows: Unionization, on average, impacts negatively on the profitability of UK firms, even after controlling for firm specific effects. However, the union effect on profitability has decreased dramatically over the 1980s and this may bear a relationship with the anti-union legislation that took place during that period in Britain. It also seems that the union effect depends a great deal on the prevailing bargaining structure, so that the industrial relations regime has an important say in the union capacity to extract rents. In terms of the relationship between unionization and R&D expenditures, whenever human capital and technological opportunities are controlled for, the negative association present in the raw data completely disappears. This result is obtained using two completely independent data sets, one at the firm and the other at the plant level. Furthermore, some evidence was found, both in the firm and in the plant level data, of a non-linear (concave) relationship between unions and R&D investment. The combination of supply and demand information, to analyze the interaction between consumers and firms in several markets, produced very interesting results. Demand elasticities, estimated using household level data, have a sizable and significant impact on firms' markups, computed from company accounts data. Time-varying household characteristics provide a unique instrument set that can be used to identify the supply equation. Interactions of the demand elasticities with market structure variables tend to show that the effects of industry concentration and import penetration on profitability are stronger in industries where demand is elastic, which can be seen as evidence against the "collusion" explanation of the link between market structure and profitability.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Unionization, Consumer Demand and Economic Performance in the UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102199
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