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The Determinants of Australian Trade Union Membership


  • Borland, Jeff
  • Ouliaris, S


This paper investigates the determinants of trade union membership in Australia using the Engle and Granger (1987) theory of co-integrated economic variables. Applying the theory of co-integration yields a model of union membership which can be interpreted as distinguishing between long-run and "business cycle" determinants of union membership. The principal long-run determinant of union membership is found to be the level of employment disaggregated by industry classification. Business cycle variables--the real wage and the change in unemployment--are also shown to influence movements in union density. These findings are consistent with recent studies which have attributed the decline in union membership in Australia since the early 1980s to the changing composition of employment and movements in the rate of unemployment. Copyright 1994 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Borland, Jeff & Ouliaris, S, 1994. "The Determinants of Australian Trade Union Membership," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 453-468, Oct.-Dec..
  • Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:9:y:1994:i:4:p:453-68

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Terasvirta, T & Anderson, H M, 1992. "Characterizing Nonlinearities in Business Cycles Using Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages 119-136, Suppl. De.
    2. Beaudry, Paul & Koop, Gary, 1993. "Do recessions permanently change output?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 149-163, April.
    3. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    4. Romer, Christina D, 1986. "Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 314-334, June.
    5. Hamilton, James D., 1990. "Analysis of time series subject to changes in regime," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 39-70.
    6. Brock, William A. & Sayers, Chera L., 1988. "Is the business cycle characterized by deterministic chaos?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 71-90, July.
    7. Neftci, Salih N, 1984. "Are Economic Time Series Asymmetric over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 307-328, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Temitope Leshoro & Umakrishnan Kollamparambil, 2016. "Inflation Or Output Targeting? Monetary Policy Appropriateness In South Africa," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 69(276), pages 77-104.
    2. Schnabel, Claus, 2012. "Union membership and density: Some (not so) stylized facts and challenges," Discussion Papers 81, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    3. Haile, Getinet Astatike, 2012. "Union Decline in Britain: Is Chauvinism Also to Blame?," IZA Discussion Papers 6536, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Jeff Borland, 1996. "Union Effects on Earnings Dispersion in Australia, 1986–1994," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 237-248, June.
    5. Haile, Getinet Astatike, 2016. "Men, Women and Unions," IZA Discussion Papers 10438, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Jeff Borland, 1994. "Union Effects and Earnings Dispersion in Australia, 1986-1994," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 04, McMaster University.
    8. Schnabel, Claus, 2002. "Determinants of trade union membership," Discussion Papers 15, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.

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