What Can We Learn About the Decline in U.S. Union Membership from International Data?
AbstractThis paper is composed of two parts. First, using international data, I corroborate that union density in the U.S. declined because of asymmetric growth between the union and nonunion sectors. I show union density to increase in countries experiencing strong manufacturing growth, and to decline in countries undergoing large women’s increases in nonagricultural employment. Second, I borrow from international relations research on war and peace to develop a cogent reason why union density differs by sector. In this vein, I apply a model primarily used to describe bilateral political interactions to figure out why workers often engage in hostile activities such as strikes. In doing so, I look at the contentious rather than the cooperative “face” of unions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 896.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Phanindra V. Wunnava (ed.), The Changing Forms of Unions: New Forms of Representation, M.E. Sharpe 2004
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
- J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
- F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-10-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2003-10-20 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-HIS-2003-10-20 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-LAB-2003-10-20 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2003-10-20 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Freeman, Richard B, 1988. "Contraction and Expansion: The Divergence of Private Sector and Public Sector Unionism in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 63-88, Spring.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1997.
"Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes,"
NBER Working Papers
6012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1998. "Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes," NBER Chapters, in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 265-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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