IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline in Germany and Britain

  • Dr Alex Bryson


This paper presents the first comparative analysis of the decline in collective bargaining in two European countries where that decline has been most pronounced. Using workplace-level data and a common model, we present decompositions of changes in collective bargaining and worker representation in the private sector in Germany and Britain over the period 1998-2004. In both countries within-effects dominate compositional changes as the source of the recent decline in unionism. Overall, the decline in collective bargaining is more pronounced in Britain than in Germany, thus continuing a trend apparent since the 1980s. Although workplace characteristics differ markedly across the two countries, assuming counterfactual values of these characteristics makes little difference to unionization levels. Expressed differently, the German dummy looms large.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its series NIESR Discussion Papers with number 350.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:2567
Contact details of provider: Postal: 2 Dean Trench Street Smith Square London SW1P 3HE
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alex Bryson & P Willman, 2006. "Accounting for Collective Action: Resource Acquisition and Mobilization in British Unions," CEP Discussion Papers dp0768, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Bernd Fitzenberger & Karsten Kohn & Qingwei Wang, 2011. "The erosion of union membership in Germany: determinants, densities, decompositions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 141-165, January.
  3. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  4. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Why have workers stopped joining unions?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20022, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Susanne Kohaut & Claus Schnabel, 2003. "Tarifverträge - nein danke!?, Ausmaß und Einflussfaktoren der Tarifbindung west- und ostdeutscher Betriebe," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 223(3), pages 312-331, May.
  6. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "The (Parlous) State of German Unions," Working Paper Series in Economics 23, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  7. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2005. "Why Have Workers Stopped Joining Unions? The Rise in Never-Membership in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 67-92, 03.
  8. 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.
  9. repec:nsr:niesrd:341 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Stephen Machin, 2000. "Union Decline in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 631-645, December.
  11. Brown , W. & Bryson , A. & Forth , J., 2008. "Competition and the Retreat from Collective Bargaining," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0831, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  12. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  13. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  14. 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.
  15. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke & Lutz Bellmann, 2013. "The Extent of Collective Bargaining and Workplace Representation: Transitions between States and their Determinants. A Comparative Analysis of Germany and Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(2), pages 182-209, 05.
  16. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2005. "Why have workers stopped joining unions? Accounting for the rise in never-membership in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 360, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Gabriele Fischer & Florian Janik & Dana Müller & Alexandra Schmucker, 2009. "European Data Watch: The IAB Establishment Panel - Things Users Should Know," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(1), pages 133-148.
  18. Schnabel, Claus & Zagelmeyer, Stefan & Kohaut, Susanne, 2005. "Collective bargaining structure and its determinants : an empirical analysis with British and German establishment data," IAB Discussion Paper 200516, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:2567. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Library & Information Manager)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.