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Solidaristic Unionism and Support for Redistribution in Contemporary Europe

  • Nadja Mosimann and Jonas Pontusson

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Using data from the European Social Survey (2002–14), this article explores the effect of union membership on support for redistribution. The authors hypothesize that the wage-bargaining practices of unions promote egalitarian distributive norms, which lead union members to support redistribution, and that this effect is strongest among high-wage workers. Consistent with the authors’ expectations, the empirical analysis shows that the solidarity effect of union membership is strongest when unions encompass a very large share of the labor force or primarily organize low-wage workers. The authors also show that low-wage workers have become a significantly less important union constituency in many European countries over the time period covered by the analysis.

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* Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 20th Conference of Europeanists in Amsterdam ( June 2013); the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm (October 2013); Princeton University (April 2014); University of Geneva ( June 2014); University of Konstanz (October 2014); University of Amsterdam ( June 2015); SUNY Buffalo (May 2016); Sciences Po, Paris (October 2016); the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin (December 2016); and University College London ( January 2017). For detailed comments, we are indebted to Jenny Andersson, Lucio Baccaro, Lucy Barnes, Michael Becher, Brian Burgoon, Michael Donnelly, Anja Durovic, Simon Hug, Hyeok Yong Kwon, Noam Lupu, Luis Ortiz, and Stefan Svallfors. Nadja Mosimann acknowledges the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Doc.Mobility) and Jonas Pontusson acknowledges the support of the National Research Foundation of Korea (2014S1A3A2044032).

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Solidaristic Unionism and Support for Redistribution in Contemporary Europe

  • Nadja Mosimann and Jonas Pontusson

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