Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes

44 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2007

See all articles by Daniele Checchi

Daniele Checchi

Università degli Studi di Milano - Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Aziendale (DEPA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; IRVAPP

Jelle Visser

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

Herman G. van de Werfhorst

University of Amsterdam

Date Written: March 2007

Abstract

In this paper we examine the connection between union membership and economic inequality. Using several surveys from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) covering the period 1985-2002, we initially examine the impact of relative earnings position on union membership and show that union membership is concentrated in the intermediate earnings groups. Next, we examine the impact of inequality attitudes on union membership. We show that union membership is not only affected by individual expected benefits related to education or earnings, but that attitudes towards inequality also play an important role. When controlling for attitudes, however, the relative income position remains significant in affecting the probability of union membership. We also show that there are no significant trends in the relationship between relative income positions and union membership. Our results indicate that union decline is observed in face of increasing earning dispersion, by attracting fewer members at both tails of earnings distribution.

Keywords: union membership, inequality attitudes

JEL Classification: J51

Suggested Citation

Checchi, Daniele and Visser, Jelle and van de Werfhorst, Herman G., Inequality and Union Membership: The Impact of Relative Earnings Position and Inequality Attitudes (March 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2691. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=980747

Daniele Checchi (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano - Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Aziendale (DEPA) ( email )

Milan, 20122
Italy
+39 02 5032 1519 (Phone)
+39 02 5032 1505 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
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Germany

IRVAPP ( email )

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Trento, I-38122
Italy

Jelle Visser

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

PLantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 (0)20 525 4199 (Phone)
+31 (0)20 525 4301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uva-aias.net/staff.asp?id=35&lang=ne

Herman G. Van de Werfhorst

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://home.staff.uva.nl/h.g.vandewerfhorst

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