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The Anatomy of Union Decline in Britain: 1990-1998

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  • A Charlwood

Abstract

To what extent can the decline in British trade union density between 1990 and 1998 be attributed to declining opportunities to unionize compared to declining propensity to unionize among workers with the opportunity to do so and to compositional change? This question is answered using data to from both workplaces (from 1990 and 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Surveys) and individuals (fro m the British Household Panel Survey). Results show that both falling opportunities and falling propensities to unionize accounted for membership decline during this period. Membership fell because unions lacked the power to maintain bargaining relationships with management, to organize new workplaces, or to uphold the ¿social custom¿ of union membership among new workers who took union jobs. However, there was little evidence that declining union membership was the result of a change in employee attitudes towards unions.

Suggested Citation

  • A Charlwood, 2003. "The Anatomy of Union Decline in Britain: 1990-1998," CEP Discussion Papers dp0601, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0601
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth, 2000. "Union status of young men in Britain: a decade of change," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 289-310.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour Management Relations; Trade Unions; Collective Bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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