Inequality and Union Membership: The Influence of Relative Earnings and Inequality Attitudes

25 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Daniele Checchi

Daniele Checchi

Università degli Studi di Milano - Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Aziendale (DEPA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; IRVAPP

Jelle Visser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS)

Herman G. van de Werfhorst

University of Amsterdam

Abstract

Using surveys from the International Social Survey Programme covering the period 1985–2002 for seven European countries (West and East Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands and Great Britain), we examine the effect of relative earnings on union membership and show that union density is higher among workers in the intermediate earnings group than among low or high earners. Next, we examine the association of inequality attitudes with union membership and demonstrate that union membership is not only motivated by instrumental considerations related to relative earnings, but also by normative concerns about inequality. We interpret our findings suggesting that rising earnings inequality is in itself a source of union decline.

Suggested Citation

Checchi, Daniele and Visser, Jelle and van de Werfhorst, Herman G., Inequality and Union Membership: The Influence of Relative Earnings and Inequality Attitudes. British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 48, Issue 1, pp. 84-108, March 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552196 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8543.2009.00757.x

Daniele Checchi (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano - Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Aziendale (DEPA) ( email )

Milan, 20122
Italy
+39 02 5032 1519 (Phone)
+39 02 5032 1505 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

IRVAPP ( email )

Via Santa Croce 77
Trento, I-38122
Italy

Jelle Visser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) ( email )

PLantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 (0)20 525 4199 (Phone)
+31 (0)20 525 4301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uva-aias.net/staff.asp?id=35&lang=ne

Herman G. Van de Werfhorst

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://home.staff.uva.nl/h.g.vandewerfhorst

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