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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 30, 2019

Norm-Based Trade Union Membership: Evidence for Germany

Laszlo Goerke and Markus Pannenberg
From the journal German Economic Review


In the absence of closed shops and discriminatory wage policies, union membership can be explained by the existence of social norms.We describe a model, incorporating institutional features of the German labour market, which explicitly allows for social custom effects in the determination of union membership. Using panel data for Germany, we find evidence for according effects which restrict freeriding. The impact of social norms tends to increase with net union density. Hence, observed reductions in the demand for union membership can weaken the impact of a norm and accentuate the free-rider problem.

Published Online: 2019-11-30
Published in Print: 2004-12-01

© 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston