FiveThirtyEight: Do Fewer Unions Make Countries More Competitive?

The ongoing argument by foes of organized labor invariably includes the point that unionization in America hurts our competitiveness with other countries when it comes to production.  This is a great article by Nate Silver, a well-known writer and statistician, that presents evidence against that argument.  

Silver’s work gained national attention when he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election.  He correctly predicted the winner of all 35 senatorial races that year, as well.  Learn more about Silver by reading Nate Silver’s Seven Most Memorable Predictions.


Here’s some of the article, click HERE to read it all:

Thursday is May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, a celebration of the international labor movement. Unionization rates have been falling in developing countries for 50 years — from 34 percent of workers in 1960 to 17 percent in 2012, according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a club made up of 34 mostly rich countries. In the United States, as of 2013 only 11.3 percent of workers were unionized, down from 20 percent two decades earlier.

The effect of unionization on a country’s economic competitiveness is of great interest to — and controversy among — economists. Are countries with higher rates of unionization more or less economically competitive? We can take a first look by comparing measures of unionized workers in developed countries against a measure of those countries’ competitiveness.