Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline in Germany and Britain
Paper No' CEPDP0971:
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Keywords: union recognition; union coverage, worker representation in works councils/ joint consultative committees, patterns of erosion, behavioural and composition effects, shift share analysis
JEL Classification: J50; J51
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This Paper is published under the following series:
CEP Discussion Papers
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This paper presents the first comparative analysis of the decline in collective bargaining in two
European countries where that decline has been most pronounced. Using workplace-level data and a
common model, we present decompositions of changes in collective bargaining and worker
representation in the private sector in Germany and Britain over the period 1998-2004. In both
countries within-effects dominate compositional changes as the source of the recent decline in
unionism. Overall, the decline in collective bargaining is more pronounced in Britain than in
Germany, thus continuing a trend apparent since the 1980s. Although workplace characteristics differ
markedly across the two countries, assuming counterfactual values of these characteristics makes little
difference to unionization levels. Expressed differently, the German dummy looms large.