The Persistent Decline in Unionization in Western and Eastern Germany, 1980-2004: What Can We Learn from a Decomposition Analysis?

23 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2006

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

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

An empirical analysis of various waves of the ALLBUS social survey shows that union density fell substantially in western Germany from 1980 to 2004 and in eastern Germany from 1992 to 2004. Such a negative trend can be observed for men and women and for different groups of the workforce. Regression estimates indicate that the probability of union membership is related to a number of personal and occupational variables such as age, public sector employment and being a blue collar worker (significant in western Germany only). A decomposition analysis shows that differences in union density over time and between eastern and western Germany to a large degree cannot be explained by differences in the characteristics of employees. Contrary to wide-spread perceptions, changes in the composition of the workforce seem to have played a minor role in the fall in union density in western and eastern Germany.

Keywords: union membership, union density, Germany, decomposition

JEL Classification: J51

Suggested Citation

Schnabel, Claus and Wagner, Joachim, The Persistent Decline in Unionization in Western and Eastern Germany, 1980-2004: What Can We Learn from a Decomposition Analysis? (October 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2388, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=942233

Claus Schnabel (Contact Author)

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( email )

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Joachim Wagner

University of Lueneburg - Institute of Economics ( email )

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