What Can We Learn About the Decline in U.S. Union Membership from International Data?

27 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2003

See all articles by Solomon W. Polachek

Solomon W. Polachek

State University of New York at Binghamton; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 2003

Abstract

This paper is composed of two parts. First, using international data, I corroborate that union density in the U.S. declined because of asymmetric growth between the union and nonunion sectors. I show union density to increase in countries experiencing strong manufacturing growth, and to decline in countries undergoing large women's increases in nonagricultural employment. Second, I borrow from international relations research on war and peace to develop a cogent reason why union density differs by sector. In this vein, I apply a model primarily used to describe bilateral political interactions to figure out why workers often engage in hostile activities such as strikes. In doing so, I look at the contentious rather than the cooperative "face" of unions.

Keywords: unions, union density, manufacturing growth, international relations

JEL Classification: J4, J5, F16

Suggested Citation

Polachek, Solomon W., What Can We Learn About the Decline in U.S. Union Membership from International Data? (October 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=459586

Solomon W. Polachek (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Binghamton ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States
607-777-2144 (Phone)
607-777-4900 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
120
Abstract Views
1,080
rank
256,715
PlumX Metrics