How Do Unionists Vote? Estimating the Causal Impact of Union Membership on Voting Behaviour from 1966 to 2004

Australian National University Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper No. 516

27 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2006

See all articles by Andrew Leigh

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House; Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU; IZA

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

I explore the voting patterns of trade union members in Australian elections conducted between 1966 and 2004, and find that on average, 63 percent of trade union members vote for the Australian Labor Party. Despite the fact that union membership declined from around one-half of the workforce in the early 1980s to one-quarter of the workforce in the early 2000s, unionists have not become more pro-Labor. Analyzing unionists' voting behaviour by gender, I find that male unionists were more pro-Labor than female unionists in the 1960s, but the reverse is true today. Recognising that union membership may be endogenous with respect to political ideology, I instrument for union membership and conclude that the observed association between union membership and voting reflects a causal relationship.

Keywords: voting, elections, unions, endogeneity, instrumental variables

JEL Classification: D72, J51

Suggested Citation

Leigh, Andrew, How Do Unionists Vote? Estimating the Causal Impact of Union Membership on Voting Behaviour from 1966 to 2004 (March 2006). Australian National University Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper No. 516, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=891890 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.891890

Andrew Leigh (Contact Author)

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House ( email )

Canberra, 2600
Australia

Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

IZA ( email )

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