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School of Business and Management

School Research Seminar Series

5 December 2012

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: Francis Bancroft Building, Room FB4.04/08 (4th Floor)

Time: 1.00 - 2.00pm

Dr. Maria Koumenta, Lecturer in Human Resource Management, School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London

Maria’s research activities are in the fields of labour economics, labour market policy and employment relations. Her work explores the characteristics and prevalence of various forms of occupational regulation, analyses their impact on labour market outcomes such as wages, skills and employment, and compares it to other labour market institutions such as unionism. She has recently been involved in a research project funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills investigating occupational regulation in the UK (with John Forth-NIESR, Amy Humphries-LSE, Alex Bryson-NIESR and Morris Kleiner- University of Minnesota). Additionally, Maria is interested in public sector labour market policy and the management of employees in the public services.

Maria was awarded her PhD from the LSE where she also worked as a researcher at the Centre for Economic Performance (Labour Markets Group) and a teaching fellow at the Employment Relations Department. Prior to joining Queen Mary, Maria was a lecturer at Cardiff University.

Seminar title
Occupational Regulation and Unionisation: A comparison of two labour market institutions in the UK

Recent evidence demonstrates that despite relatively favorable economic and political conditions during the Noughties, trade union membership in the UK continue to remain low. At the same time, occupational licensing is becoming increasing widespread amongst the UK labor force. Licensing refers to the process where entry into an occupation requires the permission of the government or a regulatory body and in that respect it resembles the closed-shop. Economists have long recognized the economic effects of occupational regulation and have commonly compared them to those of unionisation. Nevertheless, a clear understanding of the ways in which these two labor market institutions are comparable and an account of their relative labor market prevalence are notably absent. This paper aims to shed some light on these issues. Drawing on the notion of ‘occupational closure’ it begins by exploring the nature, scope and objectives of occupational regulation vis-à-vis unionization and accounts for their relative success in rent extraction. Further, the conditions within which these two labor market institution operate as well as the state’s and employers’ attitudes towards them are compared. Based on this analysis, it is argued that in a backdrop of declining trade union power, occupational regulation can be better understood as a substitute rather than a complement of unionization. In a context of declining trade union membership, I discuss the implications of these findings for trade unionism and employee representation.

Research themes 
Equality and Diversity

Additional information
The seminar will run from 1.00 to 2:00pm (suggested: 50 minute talk and 10 minute Q&A)

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