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Unions Increase Job Satisfaction in the United States

Bryson, Alexander; Artz, Benjamin; Blanchflower, David; (2023) Unions Increase Job Satisfaction in the United States. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (In press).

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Abstract

We revisit the well-known negative association between unionization and workers’ job satisfaction in the United States, first identified over forty years ago. We find the association has disappeared since the Great Recession. The job satisfaction of both younger and older union workers in the National Longitudinal Surveys of 1979 and 1997 no longer differs compared to that of their non-union counterparts. When controlling for person fixed effects with panel data unionization is associated with greater job satisfaction throughout, suggesting that when one accounts for worker sorting into unionization, becoming unionized has always been associated with improvements in job satisfaction. We find a diminution in unions’ ability to lower quit rates which is consistent with declining union effectiveness as a ‘voice’ mechanism for unionized workers. We also find unions are able to minimize covered workers’ exposure to underemployment, a phenomenon that has increasingly negatively impacted non-union workers since the Great Recession.

Type: Article
Title: Unions Increase Job Satisfaction in the United States
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: union coverage, job satisfaction, quits, underemployment, NLSY
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155416
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