Pattern persistence in european trade union density
Using annual data on aggregate union membership and density in fourteen European countries, the authors examine the short-term and long-term determinants of the postwar pattern of union growth anddecline in Western Europe since 1950. In an attempt to explain the observed convergence in trends and persistence in cross-national differences, most research has applied either business cycle models, using longitudinal data, or concentrated on political, structural or institutional factors, using cross-sectoral samples. Using a pooled (timeseries - cross-section) regression, in error-corrected form, the authors build and test an explanatory model that incorporates structural,cyclical and institutional determinants of union decline, and allows a distinction between short-term and long-term effects. The results suggest that the convergent trend to union decline during the 1980s and 1990s is entirely endogenous to labor market changes, the impact of which is mediated by a specific and limited set of labor market institutions.
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