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Title:A Model of Individual Demand for Unionism
Author(s):Seeber, Ronald Leroy
Department / Program:Labor and Industrial Relations
Discipline:Labor and Industrial Relations
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:During the history of the trade unions movement in the United States, there have been cyclical variations around a generally upward trend in membership. Over the past twenty years, however, the proportion of the labor force that are union members has declined while absolute levels of membership have increased at very slow rates. This seeming stagnation of an historical trend makes inquisition into current individual motives for union preference a relevant area of research, as aggregate union growth is a reflection of a composite of individual behavior.
Previous research concerning models of demand for unionism has consistently suffered from a lack of identification of those individuals in the nonunionized labor force who have a desire to become unionized. Thus, only model of equilibrium supply and demand conditions have been estimated. This research seeks to overcome this obstacle and present a model of individual preference for unionism for all workers, regardless of present union status.
Unionism is treated as a possible investment to supplement an individual's stock of human capital; another in an array of potential means to the ends of higher wages and fringe benefits. The model that is estimated is derived from an individual comparison of 'total job utility' between the union and nonunion sectors, conditioned by the expected psychic costs of unionism and differences in expected probability of continued employment in the two sectors. Thus, the decision of whether to exhibit a preference for unionism largely rests on the differences an individual might expect in wages and fringe benefits between the two sectors. It is hypothesized that those who have the most to gain from being union members are those most likely to exhibit a preference for unionism and attempt to invest in it.
Tests of the model using data from the University of Michigan Quality of Employment Survey - 1977 Cross-section provide little support for the hypothesis. It is found that those individuals with larger expected union/nonunion wage differentials are slightly less likely to exhibit a preference for unionism. A similar result is found for fringe benefit differentials. More importantly, it is found that there is no difference between the sexes in demand for unionism, and that nonwhites have significantly higher demand than whites.
Issue Date:1981
Description:168 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127685
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1981

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