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Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes

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Author Info

  • Checchi, Daniele

    ()
    (University of Milan)

  • Visser, Jelle

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam)

  • van de Werfhorst, Herman G.

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

In this paper we examine the connection between union membership and economic inequality. Using several surveys from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) covering the period 1985-2002, we initially examine the impact of relative earnings position on union membership and show that union membership is concentrated in the intermediate earnings groups. Next, we examine the impact of inequality attitudes on union membership. We show that union membership is not only affected by individual expected benefits related to education or earnings, but that attitudes towards inequality also play an important role. When controlling for attitudes, however, the relative income position remains significant in affecting the probability of union membership. We also show that there are no significant trends in the relationship between relative income positions and union membership. Our results indicate that union decline is observed in face of increasing earning dispersion, by attracting fewer members at both tails of earnings distribution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2691.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, 2009, 48 (1), 84-108
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2691

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Keywords: union membership; inequality attitudes;

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Cited by:
  1. Unal Tongur & Adem Yavuz Elveren, 2013. "Deunionization and Pay Inequality in OECD Countries: A Panel Granger Causality Approach," ERC Working Papers, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University 1306, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised May 2013.
  2. Basak Kus, 2012. "Financialisation and Income Inequality in OECD Nations:1995-2007," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(4), pages 477-495.
  3. John T. Addison & Ralph W. Bailey & W. Stanley Siebert, 2009. "Wage Dispersion in a Partially Unionized Labor Force," Discussion Papers, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham 09-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

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