De Economist

, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 263–280 | Cite as

Hiring Discrimination Against Pro-union Applicants: The Role of Union Density and Firm Size

  • Stijn Baert
  • Eddy Omey


We study the causal impact of revealing pro-unionism during the recruitment stage on hiring chances. To this end, we conduct a randomised field experiment in the Belgian labour market. When matched with employer and sector data, the experimentally gathered data enable us to test the heterogeneity of discrimination against pro-union applicants by the union density in the sector and the size of the firm. We find that disclosure of pro-unionism affects hiring chances in a negative way and that—in line with our expectations based on the literature—this negative impact is stronger in highly unionised sectors.


Trade unions Union density Hiring discrimination Randomised field experiments Industrial relations 

JEL Classification

J53 J71 C93 



We thank Niels Groothaert for his excellent research assistance. In addition, we are grateful to Sabien Dobbelaere, Glenn Rayp and Walter Van Trier for their useful comments and advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Université catholique de LouvainLouvainBelgium
  4. 4.IZABonnGermany

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