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Individually rational union membership

  • Bulkley, George
  • Myles, Gareth D.

The analysis of the determination of union membership has typically met difficulties with the fact that union membership is not individually rational and free-riding is the dominant strategy. We assume that workers differ in their reservation wages and hence in their preferred choice of contract, so preventing free-riding on the contract choice of others. This implies that joining a union is equivalent to buying a vote on the contract and provides an individual incentive to join the union. An equilibrium trade union membership is characterized in which membership is taken up by those with relatively "extreme" tastes. The union achieves a centralist objective even though no member precisely supports such a view.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 17 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 117-137

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:17:y:2001:i:1:p:117-137
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Bulkley, George & Myles, Gareth D., 1997. "Bargaining over effort," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 375-384, May.
  2. Naylor, Robin, 1987. "Strikes, Free Riders and Social Customs," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 275, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Bulkley, George & Myles, Gareth D & Pearson, Bernard R, 2001. " On the Membership of Decision-Making Committees," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(1-2), pages 1-22, January.
  4. Naylor, Robin & Cripps, Martin, 1993. "An economic theory of the open shop trade union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1599-1620, December.
  5. Myles, G.D. & Naylor, R.A., 1990. "Do Union Reduce Discrimination? A Model Of Nash Bargaining Between A Union And An Employeur With Discriminatory Tastes," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 366, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Vannetelbosch, Vincent J., 1997. "Wage bargaining with incomplete information in an unionized Cournot oligopoly," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 353-374, May.
  7. Moreton, David R., 1998. "An open shop trade union model of wages, effort and membership," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 511-527, August.
  8. Booth, Alison L, 1985. "The Free Rider Problem and a Social Custom Model of Trade Union Membership," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 253-61, February.
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