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Trade union membership and work councils in West Germany

  • Goerke, Laszlo
  • Pannenberg, Markus

The fraction of works councillors belonging to a trade union in Germany is much higher than union density among employees. If works councils represent the face of unions, union membership of employees should be related positively to the existence of works councils and their proximity to unions. Using data from the German Socio-Economic-Panel SOEP we find that (a) works councillors exhibit a higher probability of being a union member, (b) the mere existence of a works council within an establishment has no impact on union membership and (c) a 10 % decrease in the average share of unionised works councillors coincides with a 10 % fall in the probability of being a union member. Hence, the decline in the unionisation of works councillors and the fall in union density in West Germany are closely linked.

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Paper provided by University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics in its series Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge with number 311.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuedps:311
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  1. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The reform of the German works constitution act: a critical assessment," Discussion Papers 16, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Kohn, Karsten & Wang, Qingwei, 2006. "The Erosion of Union Membership in Germany: Determinants, Densities, Decompositions," IZA Discussion Papers 2193, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Holmlund, Bertil & Lundborg, Per, 1996. "Wage Bargaining, Union Membership, and the Organization of Unemployment Insurance," Working Paper Series 1996:17, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Akerlof, George A, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of Which Unemployment May be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-75, June.
  6. Naylor, Robin & Raaum, Oddbjorn, 1993. "The Open Shop Union, Wages, and Management Opposition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 589-604, October.
  7. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg, 2004. "Norm-Based Trade Union Membership: Evidence for Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(4), pages 481-504, November.
  8. Daniele Checchi & Jelle Visser, 2002. "Pattern persistence in european trade union density," Departmental Working Papers 2002-01, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  9. Giacomo Corneo, 1993. "Semi-unionized bargaining with endogenous membership and management opposition," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 169-188, June.
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  13. Booth, Alison L & Chatterji, Monojit, 1994. "Union Membership and Wage Bargaining When Membership is Not Compulsory," CEPR Discussion Papers 884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. William H. Greene, 1998. "Gender Economics Courses in Liberal Arts Colleges: Further Results," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 291-300, January.
  15. Daniele Checchi & Claudio Lucifora, 2002. "Unions and labour market institutions in Europe," Departmental Working Papers 2002-16, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  16. Booth, Alison L & Chatterji, Monojit, 1993. "Reputation, Membership and Wages in Open Shop Trade Union," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 23-41, January.
  17. Naylor, Robin & Cripps, Martin, 1993. "An economic theory of the open shop trade union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1599-1620, December.
  18. Petri Böckerman & Roope Uusitalo, 2006. "Erosion of the Ghent System and Union Membership Decline: Lessons from Finland," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 283-303, 06.
  19. Jones, Stephen R G & McKenna, C J, 1994. "A Dynamic Model of Union Membership and Employment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(242), pages 179-89, May.
  20. Goerke, Laszlo, 1997. "An Open Shop, Wage Bargaining, and Taxation--A Note," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 651-57, October.
  21. Schnabel, Claus, 2002. "Determinants of trade union membership," Discussion Papers 15, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  22. Moreton, David, 1999. "A Model of Labour Productivity and Union Density in British Private Sector Unionised Establishments," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 322-44, April.
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