What is the role of collective bargaining in 21st century labor markets? While some scholars question the place of unions in a world shaped by new technologies and global supply chains, others defend their mission to promote equality and social justice. The topic is re-emerging as a lively research area, driven by the expanding availability of data covering workers and firms, innovative research methodologies, and the interests of policy makers. This conference will bring together state-of-the-art research on leading issues in collective bargaining.
The questions to be addressed include longstanding paradoxes and newly emerging problems: Is the low membership in unions a challenge to institutions that seek to extend collective bargaining coverage to all or nearly all workers? Do today’s unions adequately represent the goals and needs of the workers they bargain for? Would alternative institutions serve workers better? How can a wage setting system accommodate macro shocks, such as inflation or recessions, as well as sector- and firm-specific shocks? To what extent is collective bargaining eroded or enhanced by national minimum wages? How much does collective bargaining contribute to reduce social inequalities? Are the current collective bargaining institutions well-suited to the needs of the traditionally marginalized groups, including women and migrants, or to highly-skilled professionals and employers in the information and technology sectors?