Amanda Gosling

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2004Labor Market Reforms and Changes in Wage Inequality in the United Kingdom and the United States
with Thomas Lemieux
in Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, David Card, Richard Blundell and Richard B. Freeman, editors
August 2001Labour Market Reforms and Changes in Wage Inequality in the United Kingdom and the United States
with Thomas Lemieux: w8413
This paper compares trends in male and female hourly wage inequality in the United Kingdom and the United States between 1979 and 1998. Our main finding is that the extent and pattern of wage inequality became increasingly similar in the two countries during this period. We attribute this convergence to 'U.S. style' reforms in the U.K. labour market. In particular, we argue that the much steeper decline in unionisation in the United Kingdom explains why inequality increased faster than in the United States. For women, we conclude that the fall and subsequent recovery in the real value of the U.S. minimum wage explains why wage inequality increased faster in the United States than in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, while the opposite happened during the 1990s. Interestingly, the introd...
May 1994Trade Unions and the Dispersion of Earnings in British Establishments, 1980-90
with Stephen Machin: w4732
The relationship between unions and earnings dispersion is examined using establishment-level data from the 1980, 1984 and 1990 Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys. Initially the cross-sectional relationship is examined using the 1990 data. The earnings dispersion of skilled and semi-skilled workers is seen to be lower across unionised establishments than across non-union establishments; secondly, within-establishment earnings dispersion is lower in plants which recognise trade unions for collective bargaining purposes than in those that do not. All three surveys are then utilised to ascertain to what extent the decline in unionization in Britain has contributed to the rise in earnings inequality of semi-skilled workers. There was a sizable and important widening of the gap in the d...

Published: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 57, no. 2 (May 1995): pp. 167-184. citation courtesy of

British Unions in Decline: An Examination of the 1980s Fall in Trade Union Recognition
with Richard Disney, Stephen Machin: w4733
The authors analyze establishment-level data from the three Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys of 1980, 1984 and 1990 to document and explain the sharp decline in unionization that occurred in Britain over the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1990 the proportion of British establishments which recognised manual or non-manual trade unions for collective bargaining over pay and conditions fell by almost 20 percent (from 0.67 to 0.54). The evidence reported demonstrates the importance of the interaction between the labour market, the product market, employer behaviour and the legislative framework in determining union recognition status in new establishments. The sharp fall in trade union recognition appears to be largely driven by a failure to achieve recognition status in establishments set u...


  • Published as "British Unions in Decline: Determinants of the 1980's Fallin Union Recognition", Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 48, no. 3 (1995): 403-419. Published as "What Has Happened to Union Recognition in Britain?",
  • Economica, Vol. 63, no. 249 (February 1996): 1-18.

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