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Unemployment And The Demand For Unions


  • ESTRIN, S.
  • OSWALD, A.


Why do people join open-shop unions when they would receive union wage rates even if they were not members? Why are unionization rates so low in the south-east of England? To address these questions, which we treat as interrelated, the paper considers the idea that unions offer insurance against victimization and arbitrary dismissal. Consistent with our theoretical approach, we find that union density is greatest, ceteris paribus, within establishments in areas of high unemployment.
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Suggested Citation

  • Blanchflower, D. & Crouchley, R. & Estrin, S. & Oswald, A., 1990. "Unemployment And The Demand For Unions," Papers 372, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:lseple:372

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Neumann, George R & Rissman, Ellen R, 1984. "Where Have All the Union Members Gone?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 175-192, April.
    3. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J & Garrett, Mario D, 1990. "Insider Power in Wage Determination," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 57(226), pages 143-170, May.
    4. Farber, Henry S & Saks, Daniel H, 1980. "Why Workers Want Unions: The Role of Relative Wages and Job Characteristics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 349-369, April.
    5. Booth, Alison, 1986. "Estimating the Probability of Trade Union Membership: A Study of Men and Women in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(29), pages 41-61, February.
    6. Rees, Albert, 1989. "The Economics of Trade Unions," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226707105.
    7. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "The Microeconomic Theory of the Trade Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 576-595, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. N Millward, 1993. "Uses of the Workplace Industrial Relations Surveys by British Labour Economists," CEP Discussion Papers dp0145, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Jirjahn, Uwe, 2017. "Foreign Ownership and Intra-Firm Union Density in Germany," GLO Discussion Paper Series 149, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Richard Murphy, 2017. "Call my Rep! How Unions Overcame the Free-Rider Problem," CESifo Working Paper Series 6362, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Daniele Checchi & Claudio Lucifora, 2002. "Unions and labour market institutions in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 361-408, October.
    5. Millward, N., 1993. "Uses of the workplace industrial relations surveys by British labour economists," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20964, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Daniele Checchi, 2000. "Time series evidence on union densities in European countries," Departmental Working Papers 2000-10, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.

    More about this item


    trade unions ; labour market ; wages ; unemployment;


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