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The determinants of trade union membership in Britain: A survey of the literature

  • Bob Mason
  • Peter Bain
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    Trade union density, defined as the number of union members divided by the total number of workers, fell in Britain from 55% in 1979 to about 41% in 1989. (By comparison, the corresponding U.S. figures for those years are 23% and 16%.) Even before the decline began, British scholars and practitioners began focusing increasing attention on the determinants of union growth and decline. This literature review traces debate on the subject in Britain to the work of George Bain and his colleagues starting in the mid-1970s, and examines several key contributions of more recent years. The authors differentiate "structuralist" studies, which emphasize environmental determinants of union membership (such as the business cycle), from "interventionist" studies, which place more emphasis on the influence of unions themselves (through the involvement of full-time officials in recruiting, for example). (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 46 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 332-351

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:46:y:1993:i:2:p:332-351
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