Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 141–165

The erosion of union membership in Germany: determinants, densities, decompositions

Original Paper


Unionization in Germany has declined considerably during the last two decades. We estimate the impact of socioeconomic and workplace-related variables on union membership by means of Chamberlain-Mundlak correlated random effects probit models, using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Drawing on the estimates, we project net union densities (NUD) and analyze the differences between East and West Germany, as well as the corresponding changes in NUD over time. Nonlinear Blinder-Oaxaca-type decompositions show that changes in the composition of the work force have only played a minor role for the deunionization trends in West and East Germany. In West-East comparison, differences in the characteristics of the work force reflect a lower quality of membership matches in East Germany right after German unification.


Union membership Correlated random effects probit model Decomposition analysis 

JEL Classification


Supplementary material

148_2009_299_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (188 kb)
(PDF 188 kb).

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernd Fitzenberger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Karsten Kohn
    • 3
    • 5
  • Qingwei Wang
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsAlbert-Ludwigs-University FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.ZEWMannheimGermany
  3. 3.IZABonnGermany
  4. 4.IFSLondonUK
  5. 5.KfW BankengruppeFrankfurt am MainGermany
  6. 6.University of MannheimMannheimGermany

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