A paper in Industrial Relations A Journal of Economy and Society performs a meta-analysis of a wide range of studies the impact of trade unions on productivity and finds a complex puzzle.
Studies of countries with strong unions show a solid correlation between unions and high productivity. But studies of workplaces with unions show almost no impact on productivity (either no impact or a slightly negative or positive impact, depending on the country). But an excellent analysis from Stumbling and Mumbling unravels the paradox:
You might wonder how the cross-country evidence shows a positive correlation whereas the cross-workplace evidence generally doesn't. Here's a theory. People will always want better pay and conditions. This is simply because they are human. If they can't achieve these through unions they will try to get them through the ballot box, in the form of legislation.
In this sense, as Philippe Aghion and colleagues show, there can be good and bad equilibria; a good equilibrium in which there are strong unions and little legislation, and a bad one in which there are weak unions and much regulation.
The UK fits their story. Whereas in the 70s businessmen complained about unions, they now whine about minimum wage laws and red tape.
But here's the thing. Regulation is a bad substitute for unions. Regulation is inflexible. Whereas collective bargaining - when done intelligently - can respond to different local conditions.
Unions & productivity [Stumbling and Mumbling]
(via Tim Harford)
(Image: WinnipegGeneralStrike, Wikimedia/Public Domain)
In Troubling issues at the frontier of animal tracking for conservation and management, Carleton University biologist Steven Cooke and colleagues describe a series of incidents in which poachers have used tracking tags placed on wild animals for conservation purposes to find and kill those animals.
In Even good bots fight, a paper written by Oxford Internet Institute researchers and published in PLOS One, the authors survey the edits and reverts made by Wikipedia’s diverse community of bots, uncovering some curious corners where bots — rate-limited by Wikipedia’s rules for bots — slowly and remorseless follow one another around, reverting each […]
KSU plant biochemical geneticist Raj Nagarajan describes the properties of Thaumatin, Monellin and Brazzein, all found in west African plants that are generally considered safe for consumption; each is a protein, and they are, respectively, 1,000x, 2000x, and 3000x sweeter than sugar.
DJI is the world’s leading designer and producer of easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems. If you’re a drone enthusiast, you want a DJI. If you know absolutely nothing about drones and think they’re weird, if you win a DJI you’re going to become a drone enthusiast.Enter this giveaway (for free, yes) and you’ll get a […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this […]