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The Persistent Decline in Unionization in Western and Eastern Germany, 1980-2004: What Can We Learn from a Decomposition Analysis?

  • Schnabel, Claus


    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim


    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

An empirical analysis of various waves of the ALLBUS social survey shows that union density fell substantially in western Germany from 1980 to 2004 and in eastern Germany from 1992 to 2004. Such a negative trend can be observed for men and women and for different groups of the workforce. Regression estimates indicate that the probability of union membership is related to a number of personal and occupational variables such as age, public sector employment and being a blue collar worker (significant in western Germany only). A decomposition analysis shows that differences in union density over time and between eastern and western Germany to a large degree cannot be explained by differences in the characteristics of employees. Contrary to wide-spread perceptions, changes in the composition of the workforce seem to have played a minor role in the fall in union density in western and eastern Germany.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2388.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrielle Beziehungen, 2007, 14(2), 118-132
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2388
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  1. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "Trade Union Membership in Eastern and Western Germany: Convergence or Divergence?," IZA Discussion Papers 707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Schnabel, Claus, 2002. "Determinants of trade union membership," Discussion Papers 15, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  3. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2006. "The (Parlous) State of German Unions," IZA Discussion Papers 2000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Kohn, Karsten & Wang, Qingwei, 2006. "The Erosion of Union Membership in Germany: Determinants, Densities, Decompositions," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-66, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Pierre Cahuc & Stéphane Carcillo & André Zylberberg, 2014. "Labor Economics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1oclgdahv98, Sciences Po.
  6. Nicola-Maria Riley, 1997. "Determinants of Union Membership: A Review," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 11(2), pages 265-301, 06.
  7. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt49c4n0fg, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. Wagner, Joachim & Schnabel, Claus, 2005. "Who are the workers who never joined a union? Empirical evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 37, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  9. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2003. "Norm-Based Trade Union Membership: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 962, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "German Works Councils Old and New: Incidence, Coverage and Determinants," IZA Discussion Papers 495, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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).
  12. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:100:y:1985:i:1:p:253-61 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Ben Jann, 2006. "FAIRLIE: Stata module to generate nonlinear decomposition of binary outcome differentials," Statistical Software Components S456727, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 26 May 2008.
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