Not so dissatisfied after all? The impact of union coverage on job satisfaction

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

May 5, 2016


The links between unionization and job satisfaction remain controversial. In keeping with the existing literature we find statistically significant negative correlations between unionization and overall job satisfaction. However, failure to account for fixed unobservable differences between covered and uncovered employees leads to a systematic underestimate of the effects of coverage on both overall job satisfaction and satisfaction facets for both union members and non-members. Once one accounts for these differences between covered and uncovered employees, union coverage is positively and significantly associated with satisfaction with pay and hours of work. Examination of the pay satisfaction effect indicates this is apparent for employees who attain coverage in the same job and for those who become covered when switching employers, but the effect is not apparent for job switchers who remain with the same employer. Furthermore, the ‘new’ coverage effect on pay satisfaction dissipates over time.

Published in

Oxford Economic Papers






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