Guglielmo Briscese, Nick Feltovich, Robert Slonim, 03 April 2021

Companies often engage in activities of corporate social responsibility such as donating a share of profits to charity. Previous research suggests these initiatives can help attract and motivate workers, even at the cost of giving up part of their compensation. This column presents experimental evidence that shows, however, that when workers can choose who they want to work for, they prefer firms that offer a higher wage, and are attracted by a firm’s corporate social responsibility only when they consider their wage offer as ‘fair’. Further, if companies compensate donations to charity by reducing workers’ wages, this could ultimately harm workers’ wellbeing, depending on the worker’s views on the donations. 

Richard Freeman, David Blanchflower, Alex Bryson, 11 November 2020

Things have been going badly for workers, but for many years their traditional representatives in the workplace – trade unions – have been on the back-foot.  This column revisits the association between unionisation and job satisfaction, and finds that while in the past union workers used to have lower job satisfaction than their non-union counterparts, union membership now raises wellbeing at work. The study suggests that unions do the same as they always did – it is the non-union world that has changed for the worse.  There is evidence of this sparking a growth in unionisation in the UK over the last three years.   

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