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Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes

Author

Listed:
  • Checchi, Daniele

    () (University of Milan)

  • Visser, Jelle

    () (University of Amsterdam)

  • van de Werfhorst, Herman G.

    () (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

In this paper we examine the connection between union membership and economic inequality. Using several surveys from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) covering the period 1985-2002, we initially examine the impact of relative earnings position on union membership and show that union membership is concentrated in the intermediate earnings groups. Next, we examine the impact of inequality attitudes on union membership. We show that union membership is not only affected by individual expected benefits related to education or earnings, but that attitudes towards inequality also play an important role. When controlling for attitudes, however, the relative income position remains significant in affecting the probability of union membership. We also show that there are no significant trends in the relationship between relative income positions and union membership. Our results indicate that union decline is observed in face of increasing earning dispersion, by attracting fewer members at both tails of earnings distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Checchi, Daniele & Visser, Jelle & van de Werfhorst, Herman G., 2007. "Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 2691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2691
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John T. Addison & Ralph W. Bailey & W. Stanley Siebert, 2009. "Wage Dispersion in a Partially Unionized Labor Force," GEMF Working Papers 2009-09, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    2. repec:wfo:wstudy:47406 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Töngür, Ünal & Elveren, Adem Yavuz, 2014. "Deunionization and pay inequality in OECD Countries: A panel Granger causality approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 417-425.
    4. Markus Leibrecht & Silvia Rocha-Akis, 2014. "Social Partnership and Macroeconomic Performance," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 47406, August.
    5. Castater Eric Graig, 2015. "Unionization and the partisan effect on income inequality," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(1), pages 1-40, April.
    6. Basak Kus, 2012. "Financialisation and Income Inequality in OECD Nations:1995-2007," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(4), pages 477-495.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    union membership; inequality attitudes;

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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