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Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline In Germany And Britain

  • John T. Addison
  • Alex Bryson
  • Paulino Teixeira
  • André Pahnke

This paper presents the first comparative analysis of the decline in collective bargaining in two European countries where that decline has been most pronounced. Using workplace-level data and a common model, we present decompositions of changes in collective bargaining and worker representation in the private sector in Germany and Britain over the period 1998-2004. In both countries within-effects dominate compositional changes as the source of the recent decline in unionism. Overall, the decline in collective bargaining is more pronounced in Britain than in Germany, thus continuing a trend apparent since the 1980s. Although workplace characteristics differ markedly across the two countries, assuming counterfactual values of these characteristics makes little difference to unionization levels. Expressed differently, the German dummy looms large.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 58 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (09)
Pages: 490-518

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:58:y:2011:i:4:p:490-518
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  1. John T. Addison & Lutz Bellman & Alex Bryson & André Pahnke & Paulino Teixeira, 2009. "The Extent of Collective Bargaining and Workplace Representation: Transitions between States and their Determinants. A Comparative Analysis of Germany and Great Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0954, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2005. "Why have workers stopped joining unions? Accounting for the rise in never-membership in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 360, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Gabriele Fischer & Florian Janik & Dana Müller & Alexandra Schmucker, 2009. "European Data Watch: The IAB Establishment Panel - Things Users Should Know," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(1), pages 133-148.
  4. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2005. "Why Have Workers Stopped Joining Unions? The Rise in Never-Membership in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 67-92, 03.
  5. Alex Bryson & P Willman, 2006. "Accounting for Collective Action: Resource Acquisition and Mobilization in British Unions," CEP Discussion Papers dp0768, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Why have workers stopped joining unions?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20022, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  8. Richard Hyman, 1997. "The Future of Employee Representation," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 35(3), pages 309-336, 09.
  9. Bernd Fitzenberger & Karsten Kohn & Qingwei Wang, 2011. "The erosion of union membership in Germany: determinants, densities, decompositions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 141-165, January.
  10. Kohaut Susanne & Schnabel Claus, 2003. "Tarifverträge – nein danke!? Ausmaß und Einflussfaktoren der Tarifbindung west- und ostdeutscher Betriebe / Collective Agreements - No Thanks!? Extent and Determinants of Firms’ Bargaining Coverage in," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 223(3), pages 312-331, June.
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  13. repec:nsr:niesrd:341 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Schnabel, Claus & Zagelmeyer, Stefan & Kohaut, Susanne, 2005. "Collective bargaining structure and its determinants : an empirical analysis with British and German establishment data," IAB Discussion Paper 200516, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  15. Stephen Machin, 2000. "Union Decline in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0455, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "The (Parlous) State of German Unions," Working Paper Series in Economics 23, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  17. Brown , W. & Bryson , A. & Forth , J., 2008. "Competition and the Retreat from Collective Bargaining," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0831, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  18. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  19. Ben Jann, 2006. "FAIRLIE: Stata module to generate nonlinear decomposition of binary outcome differentials," Statistical Software Components S456727, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 26 May 2008.
  20. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  21. Francis Green, 1992. "Recent Trends in British Trade Union Density: How Much of a Compositional Effect?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 445-458, 09.
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