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

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Trade unions Union density Hiring discrimination Randomised field experiments Industrial relations 

JEL Classification

J53 J71 C93 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Ajzen, M. (2013). Belgium: Industrial relations profile. Dublin: European Industrial Relations Observatory.Google Scholar
  2. Baert, S. (2014). Career lesbians. Getting hired for not having kids? Industrial Relations, 45, 543–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bertrand, M., & Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination. American Economic Review, 94, 991–1013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cooke, W. N. (1985a). The failure to negotiate first contracts: Determinants and policy implications. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 38, 163–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooke, W. N. (1985b). The rising toll of discrimination against union activists. Industrial Relations, 24, 421–442.Google Scholar
  6. Drydakis, N. (2009). Sexual orientation discrimination in the labour market. Labour Economics, 16, 364–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dundon, T. (2002). Employer opposition and union avoidance in the UK. Industrial Relations, 33, 234–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Faniel, J., & Vandaele, K. (2012). Implantation syndicale et taux de syndicalisation (2000–2010). Courrier hebdomadaire, 2146.Google Scholar
  9. Freeman, R. B., & Kleiner, M. (1999). Do unions make enterprises insolvent. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 52, 510–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fulton, L. (2011). Worker representation in Europe. Brussels: European Trade Union Institute.Google Scholar
  11. Gall, G. (2004). British employer resistance to trade union recognition. Human Resource Management Journal, 14, 36–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goerke, L., & Pannenberg, M. (2011). Trade union membership and dismissals. Labour Economics, 18, 810–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heery, E., & Simms, M. (2010). Employer responses to union organizing: Patterns and effects. Human Resource Management Journal, 20, 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hirsch, B. T. (2004). What do unions for economic performance? Journal of Labor Research, 25, 415–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lawler, J. J., & West, R. (1985). Impact of union-avoidance strategy in representation election. Industrial Relations, 24, 406–420.Google Scholar
  16. Leap, T. L., Hendrix, W. H., Cantrell, R. S., & Taylor, G. S. (1990). Discrimination against prounion job applicants. Industrial Relations, 29, 469–478.Google Scholar
  17. Liagre, P. (2012). The Belgian case: An outlier in union density and membership. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  18. Morikawa, M. (2010). Labor unions and productivity: An empirical analysis using Japanese firm-level data. Labour Economics, 17, 1030–1037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Omey, E. (2013). Arbeid en Tewerkstelling. Ghent: Ghent University.Google Scholar
  20. Redman, T., Snape, E., & Bamber, G. J. (1990). Does union activity damage career prospects? Implications for the unionisation of managers. Human Resource Management Journal, 1, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Saltzman, G. M. (1995). Job applicant screening by a Japanese transplant: A union-avoidance tactic. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 49, 88–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schnabel, C. (2013). Union membership and density: Some (not so) stylized facts and challenges. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 19, 255–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Servais, J. M. (1977). Anti-union discrimination in the field of employment. International Labour Review, 115, 293–303.Google Scholar
  24. van den Broek, D. (2003). Recruitment strategies and union exclusion in two Australian call centres. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 58, 515–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Van Rie, T., Marx, I., & Horemans, J. (2011). Ghent revisited: Unemployment insurance and union membership in Belgium and the Nordic countries. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 17, 125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wauters, B., Mus, M., Lannoo, S., & Devos, C. (2014). Perfect match or missing link? An analysis of the representativeness of trade union representatives in Belgium. Industrial Relations, 45, 424–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wood, M., Hales, J., Purdon, S., Sejersen, T., & Hayllar, O. (2009). A test for racial discrimination in recruitment practice in British cities. DWP Research Reports, no. 607.Google Scholar
  28. Woodhams, C., & Lupton, B. (2006). Gender-based equal opportunities policy and practice in small firms: The impact of HR professionals. Human Resource Management Journal, 16, 74–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations