University of York Discussion Papers in Economics
June 1, 2007
The determinants of union membership in the UK are analysed using the BHPS (1991-2003). The paper employs three alternative methodologies to control for the problem of initial conditions. Trade union membership is found to be persistent even after controlling for the unobserved effect. There is evidence of a considerable correlation between the unobserved individual heterogeneity and the initial condition. Ignoring this overstates the degree of state dependence of union membership greatly. The extent of state dependence in union membership status is notably higher in the (1991-1996) period estimates and appears to be more pronounced in the case of male employees for the entire period under consideration. Concerning the observed heterogeneity the estimates suggest that an individual's propensity to unionise is determined by a mixture of industrial and personal characteristics that have a differential impact on male and female propensities.