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The persistent decline in unionization in western and eastern Germany, 1980-2004: What can we learn from a decomposition analysis?

Author

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  • Joachim Wagner

    (Institute of Economics, University of Lüneburg)

  • Claus Schnabel

    (Chair of Labour and Regional Economics, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Abstract

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 charakteristics 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Joachim Wagner & Claus Schnabel, 2006. "The persistent decline in unionization in western and eastern Germany, 1980-2004: What can we learn from a decomposition analysis?," Working Paper Series in Economics 31, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:31
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    2. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2005. "Who Are the Workers Who Never Joined a Union? Empirical Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1658, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke, 2011. "Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline In Germany And Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 490-518, September.
    2. Schnabel Claus & Wagner Joachim, 2008. "The Aging of the Unions in West Germany, 1980–2006," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(5-6), pages 497-511, October.
    3. Fitzenberger Bernd & Sommerfeld Katrin, 2016. "A Sequential Decomposition of the Drop in Collective Bargaining Coverage," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(1), pages 37-69, February.
    4. Baltagi, Badi H. & Blien, Uwe & Wolf, Katja, 2012. "A dynamic spatial panel data approach to the German wage curve," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 12-21.
    5. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2015. "Trade union membership and sickness absence: Evidence from a sick pay reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 13-25.
    6. Oberfichtner Michael & Schnabel Claus, 2019. "The German Model of Industrial Relations: (Where) Does It Still Exist?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 239(1), pages 5-37, January.
    7. Mertens, Matthias, 2020. "Labor market power and the distorting effects of international trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    8. Ellguth Peter & Kohaut Susanne, 2019. "A Note on the Decline of Collective Bargaining Coverage: The Role of Structural Change," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 239(1), pages 39-66, January.
    9. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke, 2011. "Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline In Germany And Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 490-518, September.
    10. Schneider Helena, 2020. "Wege zu mehr Zufriedenheit im Flächentarif: Empirische Befunde für die Metall- und Elektro-Industrie," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 69(3), pages 255-276, December.
    11. Michael Ollinger & Friedrich L. Sell, 2017. "What Determines Union Density? A Political Economy Model of the Labor Market with Empirical Evidence in the Context of European Countries," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 10, pages 18-32, November.
    12. Oberfichtner Michael & Schnabel Claus, 2019. "The German Model of Industrial Relations: (Where) Does It Still Exist?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 239(1), pages 5-37, January.
    13. Neubäumer, Renate, 2016. "Does Less Wage Compression Lead to Less Training in Germany? An Expansion of Acemoglu and Pischke's Model of Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 9813, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    union membership; union density; Germany; decomposition;
    All these keywords.

    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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