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Union Bargaining Strength as a Public Good: Experimental Evidence


  • Keser, Claudia

    () (Institut für Statistik und Mathematische Wirtschaftstheorie)

  • Rullière, Jean-Louis

    () (GATE - CNRS, Université Lumière Lyon 2)

  • Villeval, Marie-Claire

    (GATE - CNRS)


When collective agreements apply to all employees, whether unionized or not, what is the rationale behind joining a union? The paper presents an experiment on a two-stage game. In the first stage, the decision to join a union is modeled as a voluntary contribution to a public good. In the second stage, the unionized employees bargain with the employer over wages. The experimental evidence reveals that: i) the union density is higher than predicted by theory but declining over time, ii) the size of the union increases the employees' bargaining power but not as much as predicted.

Suggested Citation

  • Keser, Claudia & Rullière, Jean-Louis & Villeval, Marie-Claire, 1999. "Union Bargaining Strength as a Public Good: Experimental Evidence," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-20, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:99-20 Note: Financial Support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sikandar Siddiqui, 1997. "The pension incentive to retire: Empirical evidence for West Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 463-486.
    2. Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Vermögen und Ersparnis im Lebenszyklus in Westdeutschland," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-43, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    3. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-178, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berninghaus, Siegfried & Guth, Werner & Keser, Claudia, 2003. "Unity suggests strength: an experimental study of decentralized and collective bargaining," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 465-479, August.
    2. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "Neutral versus loaded instructions in a bribery experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 103-121, June.

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