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- PublicationUnion membership in Ireland since 2003(The Statistical and Social Inquiry Statistical Society of Ireland, 2015-02-19)Using data from the Quarterly National Household Survey supplemented with some data from the European Social Survey we document a steady decline in union density in Ireland since 2003. While the great recession appeared to halt the decline this was temporary and density has continued to decline, indeed when changes in composition of worker and job attributes are accounted for there is a steady decline throughout the period. The analysis suggests that changes in the composition of job and worker characteristics during the deep recession between 2008 and 2011 served to offset the underlying decline in density. We also look respectively at the contributions of flows of workers into and out of union/non-union employment to the change in density. While the bulk of transitions into and out of union employment are associated with job changes, in fact the inflows and outflows cancel out for this category. The bulk of the change in membership came from changes in the net flow of workers who stayed in the same job into and out of union employment. We show that union members were much less likely to exit employment throughout the period compared to non-members. We present suggestive evidence from the European Social Survey that there is a substantial free rider effect associated with working in establishments where unions have influence without being a member. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the possible implications of declining membership for labour market outcomes.
- PublicationLabour Market Measures in Ireland 2008-13: The Crisis and Beyond(International Labour Organization, 2016-02-09)The period leading up to 2008 was one of rapid growth in the Irish economy. After a long period of low growth, high unemployment and the accumulation of large public debts throughout the late seventies up to the mid-eighties, there was a sustained period of high growth from the late eighties until 2007, with average growth rates of over 6 per cent in this period. This is often referred to as the period of the 'Celtic Tiger'. Honohan and Walsh (2002) provide a good discussion of some of the main factors thought to be the causes of this boom and suggest that it can be seen as a period of catch-up as the Irish economy recovered from low growth rates associated with poor policy decisions and benefited from a set of other favourable factors. Some of these factors are: access to the single European market, an improvement in the industrial relations climate, favourable conditions for attracting inward foreign direct investment and an improved fiscal position. While Honohan and Walsh (2002) expected a slowdown in growth in the new millennium as the Irish economy converged towards full employment and levels of output per head close to those of its European neighbours, the period from 2000 to 2007 was one of continued economic growth. The nature of growth in this period meant that the Irish economy was particularly exposed to the 2008 financial crisis.
- PublicationChanges in the gender wage gap and the returns to firm specific human capitalIf employers believe females are more likely to separate from a job than males, efficient cost sharing of on-the-job training implies that females will have higher returns to tenure. Becker and Lindsay (1994) argue that this is true empirically. (1994). Updating the analysis we find that that there is no longer a difference in the probability of leaving jobs or in returns to tenure by gender. Differences in contracts to finance on the job training can no longer explain any of the “discrimination” component in the gender wage gap.
- PublicationReport of Independent Review of Employment Regulation Orders and Registered Employment Agreement Wage Setting MechanismsAn independent review of the framework of statutory wage setting mechanisms known as Employment Regulation Orders (ERO) and Registered Employment Agreements (REA). The review was a commitment under the provisions of the joint EU-IMF Programme for Ireland. The Review was conducted jointly by Mr. Kevin Duffy, Chairman of the Labour Court, acting in an ad hoc capacity, and by Dr. Frank Walsh, Lecturer, School of Economics, University College Dublin, having regard to the need for this independent review to draw both on particular knowledge of the operation of wage setting mechanisms and independent economic expertise.
- PublicationThe Re-Building Effect of Hurricanes: Evidence from Employment in the US Construction IndustryWe examine the impact of hurricane strikes on the construction industry in US counties. To this end we use a measure of hurricane destruction derived from a wind field model and historical hurricane track data and employ this within a dynamic labour demand framework. Our results show that destruction due to hurricanes causes on average an increase in county level employment in construction of a little over 25 per cent.
- PublicationAn equilibrium search model of the informal sectorWe use an equilibrium search framework to model a formal- informal sector labour market where the informal sector arises endogenously. In our model large firms will be in the formal sector and pay a wage premium, while small firms are characterised by low wages and tend to be in the informal sector. Using data from the South African labour force survey we illustrate that the data is consistent with these predictions.
- PublicationMonopsony power with variable effort(University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2000-11)A monopsony model of the labour market is developed where wages and the effort level are chosen by the firm. Higher wages raise labour supply while higher effort reduces it. Wages will be below the socially optimal level while effort will be too high. Under a sufficient condition which is satisfied in many reasonable cases a minimum wage policy (with the effort level unrestricted) will lower worker utility and welfare. Under a sufficient condition a maximum effort level (with wages unrestricted will raise employees utility but lower welfare. To be confident that regulatory policies improve welfare the government must be confident that it can choose and enforce the regulated levels of wages and effort correctly. By contrast an employment subsidy which depends only on the slope of the firms labour supply curve can achieve the social optimum. The model can be thought of as a generic monopsony model where wage is input price, effort input quality and workers utility the input suppliers profit. A simplified version of Bhaskar and To’s (1999) model is used to illustrate. The cost of the employment subsidy which achieves the social optimum (and is equal to the transport costs of the marginal worker) is equal to monopsony profits.
- PublicationRecent Trends in Trade Union Membership in IrelandUsing micro data from the Quarterly National Household Survey we look at trends in Irish union membership from 2001-2006. There was a steep decline in union density. Decomposition analysis suggests that most of the decline is associated with a decline in the underlying probability of becoming a member for different groups of workers rather than a change in composition.