The Union Effect in Context: Group Identity, Electoral Systems, and Preferences for Redistribution
34 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014
Date Written: August 25, 2014
This paper shows that union members are consistently more supportive of redistribution than other citizens. This is partly because union members are drawn predominantly from socio-economic strata characterized by relatively low incomes and relatively high exposure to labor-market risks, but it also appears to be the case that unions alter the way individuals in the same objective circumstances perceive their interests. Furthermore, this paper shows that the group identity effect varies by electoral system, by changing political parties' electoral incentives. The union-membership group identity effect is more pronounced in countries with more proportional electoral system and becomes moderated where electoral system is disproportional. It is because disproportional electoral systems provide incentives for political parties to mobilize a variety of cross-cutting social identity such as ethnic, religious or national identity.
Keywords: unions, electoral systems, preferences for redistribution
JEL Classification: D63, H11, I38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation