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Risk Aversion and Trade Union Membership

  • Laszlo Goerke
  • Markus Pannenberg

In an open-shop model of trade union membership with heterogeneity in risk attitudes, a worker's relative risk aversion can affect the decision to join a trade union. Furthermore, a shift in risk attitudes can alter collective bargaining outcomes. Using German panel data (GSOEP) and three novel direct measures of individual risk aversion, we find evidence of a significantly positive relationship between risk aversion and the likelihood of union membership. Additionally, we observe a negative correlation between bargained wages in aggregate and average risk preferences of union members. Our results suggest that an overall increase in risk aversion contributes to wage moderation and promotes employment.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.79230.de/diw_sp0088.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 88.

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Length: 23 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp88
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  1. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Schupp, Jürgen & Sunde, Uwe & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2006. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 5517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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  20. McDonald, Ian M, 1991. "Insiders and Trade Union Wage Bargaining," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 59(4), pages 395-407, December.
  21. Moreton, David, 1999. "A Model of Labour Productivity and Union Density in British Private Sector Unionised Establishments," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 322-44, April.
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  24. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Lost In State Space: Are Preferences Stable?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1091-1112, 08.
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