Yellow or Red? Introduction of free choice in the union market – University of Copenhagen

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16 April 2013

Yellow or Red? Introduction of free choice in the union market

Article by Christian Lyhne Ibsen

Since 2000 'yellow' trade unions have had a growth in memberships of 321 per cent. During the same period, unions belonging to the LO have lost a fourth of their members. Unions that are parties to collective bargaining are in deep crisis. Part of the explanation for this is the liberalization and free choice in the 'union market' in 2002 with the law on cross-occupational unemployment benefits funds.

Using multivariate logistic regression analysis of panel data for Danish employees, the relationships between union membership and a number of personal, economic and workplace characteristics are investigated. The analysis shows that e.g. low income, debt and private sector employment are positively related to 'yellow' membership, whereas the effects are negative for membership in LO-unions. In contrast, vocational training and employment in larger companies are positively related to membership in LO-unions while opposite effects for 'yellow' membership.

Article in Økonomi og Politik, vol. 86, no. 1, April 2013.