New evidence on unions and plant closings : Britain in the 1990s

John T. ADDISON, John S. HEYWOOD, Xiangdong WEI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we exploit the longitudinal element of the 1990 and 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Surveys for Britain to investigate the effect of unionism on establishment closings. Contrary to both recent U.S. research and long-standing British work, we find a strong positive association between two measures of unionism-union recognition for collective bargaining purposes and union coverage-and plant closings. This association is robust to the inclusion of highly detailed industry controls but is driven by plants that are parts of multiestablishment entities. No such relationship obtains in the case of single-plant enterprises. In explaining our findings, we address their consistency with the widely perceived reduction in the "disadvantages of (British) unionism" in recent years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-841
Number of pages20
JournalSouthern Economic Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


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