Trade Unions and Wage Differentials

  • Brian Burkitt
  • David Bowers
Part of the Macmillan New Studies in Economics book series


The economic objective of trade unions is to defend, and hope to improve, their members’ real living standards. In this chapter we consider the extent to which the structure of wage differentials relates to union power. We concentrate upon the relative wage impact of unions, which can be defined as the degree to which they raise the wages of those for whom they bargain above what would have been paid in their absence. Since the latter cannot be measured directly, most research tries to compare the level and movement of unionised wages with those paid to non-union or poorly organised workers who are comparable in other respects.1 Before assessing this research we must discuss the theory of the potential union impact upon wage differentials.


Trade Union Wage Differential Relative Wage Union Wage Union Power 
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Copyright information

© Brian Burkitt and David Bowers 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Burkitt
  • David Bowers

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