Working Paper BETA #2024-08

Download working-paper

Title : Job strain and union membership: An empirical study based on French data

Author(s) : Olivier Guillot, Magali Jaoul-Grammare, Isabelle Terraz

Abstract : This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of the impact of employees’ working conditions on union membership by specifically examining whether being exposed to job strain (or job iso-strain) increases the propensity to join unions. The study is based on data from the REPONSE survey, carried out in France in 2011. Two-level (individual / economic sector) logistic regression models are used to analyse the individual decision of union membership while accounting for sectoral effects. The results indicate that having a job with low or medium decision latitude (as opposed to high decision latitude) is associated with a higher probability of union membership. This latter effect is stronger when support from the hierarchy is low rather than high or medium. By contrast, the level of psychological demand does not seem to have any significant influence on unionisation. The link between job iso-strain (or a certain form of iso-strain) and union membership remains significant when the potential endogeneity of this factor is taken into account. These findings lend some support to theories like the frustration-aggression approach, which relates the union membership decision to work dissatisfaction and the desire of employees to change their working conditions.

Key-words : Trade unions; Union membership; Working conditions; Job strain; Economic sectors; France.

JEL Classification : J5.