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Volume 145 (2006), Number 4

  • Introduction

  • Unions and microeconomic performance: A look at what matters for economists (and employers)

    Zafiris TZANNATOS and Toke S. AIDT

    Balancing theoretical considerations against empirical findings from an extensive literature survey, the authors investigate the effects of unionization on key determinants of corporate performance, including productivity, technological innovation, investment, human capital formation, and profitability. This overview of microeconomic effects is followed by a discussion of economy-wide effects which highlights the importance of the policy environment in determining the propensity of trade unions to mediate particular economic outcomes. While workers need representation, the authors conclude, trade unions are most effective at improving conditions for workers without efficiency costs when product markets are competitive and unions need to care about rent creation.

    Keywords: trade union role, trade uniion, productivity, profitability, vocational training, research and development, OECD countries.

  • Poverty lines around the world: A new methodology and internationally comparable estimates

    Richard ANKER

    The World Bank’s widely used poverty lines of US$1 and 2 per day, Anker argues, do not adequately capture what it means to be poor in different countries. The new methodology he proposes is designed to remedy this shortcoming while ensuring international comparability of national poverty lines: the price of non-food necessities is added to that of a low-cost, nutritious diet suited to each country’s national preferences and in proportions appropriate to its developmental level. Applying this methodology to a sample of 12 countries, Anker shows that poverty occurs in all countries – at much higher levels than the World Bank currently estimates.

    Keywords: poverty, international comparability, measurement, methodology.

  • Living wages around the world: A new methodology and internationally comparable estimates

    Richard ANKER

    Using the results of his work on poverty lines (see previous article), Anker constructs a new methodology for estimating internationally comparable living wage levels. He goes on to compare his living wage estimates with median wages in 12 countries representing all development levels and regions of the world. While the percentage of workers earning a living wage increases with development level, median wages turn out to be lower than the living wage estimates except in higher-income countries. Moreover, median wage data are often for the modern sector where workers are typically better paid than in the informal economy.

    Keywords: living wage, minimum wage, wage rate, international comparability, measurement, mehtodology.

  • The Swedish model in turbulent times: Decline or renaissance?

    Dominique ANXO and Harald NIKLASSON

    In 1975-91, the “Swedish model” broke down, but – the authors argue – the basic components of the original model of the 1950s are now back in place. Responses to the deep economic crisis of the early 1990s have included the reinstatement of an anti-inflationary macroeconomic policy and the refocusing of active labour market policy on supply - side measures.Yet Sweden’s recovery from high unemployment and inflation also owes much to the re-coordination of wage bargaining in pursuit of three objectives: industrial peace, limiting the negative employment effects of an uncontrolled wage drift, and “subsidiarity” in adapting the provisions of industry-wide agreements to firms’ competitive needs.

    Keywords: labour policy, employment policy, labour flexibililty, labour relations, social policy, economic polilcy, trend, Sweden.

  • Books

    Recent books
    New ILO publications

  • Index

    Book reviews

Last update: 15 May 2007^ top