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The Aging of the Unions in West Germany, 1980–2006

  • Schnabel Claus

    ()

    (University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, Lange Gasse 20, 90403 Nuernberg, Germany)

  • Wagner Joachim

    ()

    (Leuphana University Lueneburg, PO Box 2440, 21314 Lueneburg, Germany)

Using data from the social survey ALLBUS for West Germany in the period 1980 to 2006, this paper demonstrates that union members are on average older than non-unionized employees. The probability of being unionized shows the inverted U-shaped pattern in age conjectured by Blanchflower (BJIR 2007) only in very few years. It is demonstrated that both intra-cohort change and cohort replacement effects have played a roughly equal role in the substantial fall in union density since 1980. If older cohorts with high densities continue to be replaced by young cohorts with low densities, average union density will fall further.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik).

Volume (Year): 228 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (October)
Pages: 497-511

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Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:228:y:2008:i:5-6:p:497-511
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  1. Martin Beck & Bernd Fitzenberger, 2004. "Changes in Union Membership Over Time: A Panel Analysis for West Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 18(3), pages 329-362, 09.
  2. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2003. "Norm-Based Trade Union Membership: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 962, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Jelle Visser, 2002. "Why Fewer Workers Join Unions in Europe: A Social Custom Explanation of Membership Trends," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 403-430, 09.
  4. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2007. "Trade Union Membership and Works Councils in West Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 2635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2006. "The persistent decline in unionization in western and eastern Germany, 1980-2004 : What can we learn from a decomposition analysis?," Discussion Papers 45, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  7. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "International Patterns of Union Membership," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, 03.
  8. Schnabel, Claus, 2002. "Determinants of trade union membership," Discussion Papers 15, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  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. Alison L. Booth, 1985. "The Free Rider Problem and a Social Custom Model of Trade Union Membership," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 253-261.
  11. Anke Hassel, 2007. "The Curse of Institutional Security - The Erosion of German Trade Unionism," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 14(2), pages 176 - 191.
  12. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "Trade union membership in Eastern and Western Germany: convergence or divergence?," Discussion Papers 18, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  13. Hendrik Biebeler & Hagen Lesch, 2007. "Zwischen Mitgliedererosion und Ansehensverlust - Die deutschen Gewerkschaften im Umbruch," Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 14(2), pages 133 - 153.
  14. Petri Böckerman & Roope Uusitalo, 2006. "Erosion of the Ghent System and Union Membership Decline: Lessons from Finland," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 283-303, 06.
  15. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "Determinants of Trade Union Membership in Western Germany: Evidence from Micro Data, 1980-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 708, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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