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Why have workers stopped joining unions? Accounting for the rise in never-membership in Britain

Bryson, Alex and Gomez, Rafael (2005) Why have workers stopped joining unions? Accounting for the rise in never-membership in Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 43 (1). pp. 67-92. ISSN 1467-8543

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2005.00345.x


This paper tracks the rise in the percentage of employees who have never become union members (‘never-members’) since the early 1980s and shows that it is the reduced likelihood of ever becoming a member rather than the haemorrhaging of existing members which is behind the decline in overall union membership in Britain. We estimate the determinants of ‘never-membership’ and consider how much of the rise can be explained by structural change in the labour market and how much by change in preferences among employees. We find a similar trend in the unionised sector, indicating that the rise in never membership for the economy as a whole is not linked solely to a decline in the number of recognised workplaces.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an Article published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations 43(1) pp. 67-92 © [2005] Blackwell Publishing. Articles available via LSE Research Articles Online are protected under intellectual property law, including copyright law. Any use made of the contents should comply with the relevant law.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Research centres and groups > Managerial Economics and Strategy Group
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2005
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2012 17:54

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