The Importance of Political Systems for Trade Union Membership, Coverage, and Influence: Theory and Evidence

55 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2019

See all articles by John W. Budd

John W. Budd

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

J. Ryan Lamare

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations

Date Written: July 24, 2019

Abstract

Among the many factors that can influence patterns of trade union membership, coverage, and influence, the importance of a country’s political system has been largely overlooked by industrial relations scholars except for the ruling or governing ideology. We uniquely theorize three channels through which the structural, not ideological, nature of a country’s political system can shape unionization in the workplace: incentives for inclusionary governance, legislative body composition, and policy enactment. Empirically, we use multiple European data sets to test the relationship between political and employee representation using multivariate analyses across more than 25 countries. We find that increased political representativeness, measured by lower disproportionality and the presence of multiparty coalitions, is a statistically significant predictor of a greater likelihood of individual trade union membership, coverage, and influence, while competitive fragmentation, measured by greater numbers of political parties, is associated with weakened collective voice.

Keywords: labor unions, collective bargaining coverage, electoral systems

JEL Classification: J50, J51

Suggested Citation

Budd, John W. and Lamare, J. Ryan, The Importance of Political Systems for Trade Union Membership, Coverage, and Influence: Theory and Evidence (July 24, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3425452 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3425452

John W. Budd (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

321 19th Avenue South
Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-0357 (Phone)
612-624-8360 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.johnwbudd.com

J. Ryan Lamare

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations ( email )

504 East Armory Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820-6297
United States

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