The drivers of trade union influence

Marc Hooghe (University of Leuven) & Jennifer Oser (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Marc Hooghe (University of Leuven) & Jennifer Oser (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

Amid a widely shared perception that trade unions have lost their clout in shaping governments’ social policies, recent scholarship suggests that this development has been particularly prevalent in liberal market economies. In their article “Trade union density and social expenditure: a longitudinal analysis of policy feedback effects in OECD countries, 1980–2010” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Marc Hooghe and Jennifer Oser find that trade unions boasting union density can press governments for higher social expenditures, however only in coordinated market economies. Their analysis also tells us that a government’s social expenditure influences trade unions’ density, suggesting that “the mobilization success of trade unions is partly dependent on the opportunities created by contextual political institutions”.