Determinants of Trade Union Membership in West Germany: Evidence from Micro Data, 1980-2000

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Claus Schnabel

Claus Schnabel

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joachim Wagner

University of Lueneburg - Institute of Economics; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

An empirical analysis of various waves of the ALLBUS social survey shows that union density fell substantially in West Germany from 1980 to 2000. Such a negative trend can be observed for men and women and for different groups of the workforce. Repeated cross-sectional analyses suggest that a number of personal, occupational and attitudinal variables such as sex, occupational status, firm size and political orientation play a role in the unionization process, although the influence of some variables is not robust over time. While the results are consistent with cost-benefit considerations on the sides of employees and unions, our estimations do not support individualization theory and they cast some doubt on a crucial prediction from social custom theory.

Keywords: union membership, union density, Germany

JEL Classification: J51

Suggested Citation

Schnabel, Claus and Wagner, Joachim, Determinants of Trade Union Membership in West Germany: Evidence from Micro Data, 1980-2000. Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 3, pp. 1-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=811452

Claus Schnabel (Contact Author)

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Joachim Wagner

University of Lueneburg - Institute of Economics ( email )

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