Why Fewer Workers Join Unions in Europe: A Social Custom Explanation of Membership Trends

28 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2002

See all articles by Jelle Visser

Jelle Visser

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

Abstract

Can the recent decline in union density in Europe be attributed to specific economic, social or institutional causes? Can unions influence these causes and reverse decline? Using two data sources; a representative survey of Dutch employees and a data set for European countries between 1950 and 1997; the author examines the determinants of union decline. The theoretical model is based on a social custom approach to unionization, integrating rational choice and social network theory. The empirical results show improbable small margins of union resurgence, that is, if institutional support for union representation can be maintained or regained within and beyond workplaces.

Suggested Citation

Visser, Jelle, Why Fewer Workers Join Unions in Europe: A Social Custom Explanation of Membership Trends. British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 40, pp. 403-430, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=329996

Jelle Visser (Contact Author)

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

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