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Explaining union growth and decline with flows in and out of membership. An analysis of Swiss union locals

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  • Oesch, Daniel

Abstract

This paper enquires into the causes of union growth and decline by analysing flows in and out of membership. It does so at the level of 70 Swiss union locals over the period 2006-08. Gross flows in union membership are found to be much larger than the resulting net changes: turnover of annually 10 per cent thus is a surprisingly constant feature across unions. Net changes in membership are primarily determined by inflows: successful union locals differ from languishing ones with respect to their entry rates, whereas exit rates are similar. There is large variance in union locals’ entry rates that is not accounted for by the labour market context. Rather, it seems attributable to differences in union organization and strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Oesch, Daniel, 2010. "Explaining union growth and decline with flows in and out of membership. An analysis of Swiss union locals," MPRA Paper 24358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24358
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/24358/1/MPRA_paper_24358.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1988. "Contraction and Expansion: The Divergence of Private Sector and Public Sector Unionism in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 63-88, Spring.
    2. Jelle Visser, 2002. "Why Fewer Workers Join Unions in Europe: A Social Custom Explanation of Membership Trends," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 403-430, September.
    3. Schnabel, Claus, 2002. "Determinants of trade union membership," Discussion Papers 15, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    4. Towers, Brian, 1997. "The Representation Gap: Change and Reform in the British and American Workplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289463.
    5. Ours, J.C., 1991. "Union growth in The Netherlands 1961-1989," Serie Research Memoranda 0033, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade unions; membership; strategic choice; turnover; recruitment;

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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