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Determinants of trade union membership in Great Britain during 1991-2003


  • Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios


We analyse the determinants of union membership in the UK using data from the BHPS (1991-2003). Employing three alternative methodologies to control for the problem of initial conditions we find that union membership remains persistent even after controlling for the unobserved effect. There is evidence of a considerable correlation between the unobserved individual heterogeneity and the initial membership status. Ignoring this overstates the degree of state dependence of union membership greatly. The extent of state dependence in union membership status is notably higher in the (1991-1996) period estimates and appears to be more pronounced in the case of male employees for the entire period under analysis. The second period estimates reveal that unobserved heterogeneity has a more prominent impact in determining future unionisation probability versus past union membership. Finally, the estimates suggest that an individual´s propensity to unionise is determined by a mixture of industrial and personal characteristics. This is at odds with earlier studies, such as Booth (1986) and Wright (1995), failing to control for unobservable effects and concluding that personal attributes do not have a significant impact on unionisation propensity.

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  • Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios, 2008. "Determinants of trade union membership in Great Britain during 1991-2003," UC3M Working papers. Economics we082315, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we082315

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    Cited by:

    1. Rupayan PAL, 2010. "Impact Of Communist Parties On The Individual Decision To Join A Trade Union: Evidence From India," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 48(4), pages 496-528, December.
    2. Nisar Ahmad, 2014. "State Dependence in Unemployment," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 4(1), pages 93-106.

    More about this item


    Union membership;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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