Labour Unions and Firm Productivity: Evidence from China

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This study investigates the effect of labour unions on productivity across various types of firm ownership in China. Using a panel dataset of Chinese manufacturing firms covering 2004–2007 and employing propensity score matching techniques, we find that unions have a negative impact on labour productivity and total factor productivity. From a dynamic viewpoint, unionisation has an initially positive or nonsignificant association with productivity, but then has a significant negative effect in subsequent years for both foreign-owned enterprises and private firms. A strong and negative productivity effect is consistently observed for state-owned enterprises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-721
Number of pages23
JournalManchester School
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


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