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To be or not to be? Risk attitudes and gender differences in union membership

Karlsson, Tobias LU and Stanfors, Maria LU (2016) In Lund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market
Abstract
Attracting membership while stifling freeriding and heterogeneous preferences among potential members is critical for trade union success. Women are generally seen as less inclined to join trade unions, particularly at the onset of the labor movement. We highlight a previously neglected explanation for this: the importance of risk and gender differences in assessment hereof. We study matched employer-employee data from two industries around the year 1900 where union membership was associated with different levels of risk: the Swedish cigar and printing industries. We find that the gender gap in membership was larger in the high-risk environment (cigar) and smaller in the low-risk environment (printing). Women were not hard to organize but... (More)
Attracting membership while stifling freeriding and heterogeneous preferences among potential members is critical for trade union success. Women are generally seen as less inclined to join trade unions, particularly at the onset of the labor movement. We highlight a previously neglected explanation for this: the importance of risk and gender differences in assessment hereof. We study matched employer-employee data from two industries around the year 1900 where union membership was associated with different levels of risk: the Swedish cigar and printing industries. We find that the gender gap in membership was larger in the high-risk environment (cigar) and smaller in the low-risk environment (printing). Women were not hard to organize but avoided risks and uncertain returns. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
trade unions, risk aversion, gender, 19th century, 20th century, Sweden
in
Lund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market
issue
144
pages
37 pages
publisher
Department of Economic History, Lund University
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
44635506-f529-4259-854a-5b86ed654640 (old id 8837866)
date added to LUP
2016-03-07 10:11:35
date last changed
2016-04-16 08:43:21
@misc{44635506-f529-4259-854a-5b86ed654640,
  abstract     = {Attracting membership while stifling freeriding and heterogeneous preferences among potential members is critical for trade union success. Women are generally seen as less inclined to join trade unions, particularly at the onset of the labor movement. We highlight a previously neglected explanation for this: the importance of risk and gender differences in assessment hereof. We study matched employer-employee data from two industries around the year 1900 where union membership was associated with different levels of risk: the Swedish cigar and printing industries. We find that the gender gap in membership was larger in the high-risk environment (cigar) and smaller in the low-risk environment (printing). Women were not hard to organize but avoided risks and uncertain returns.},
  author       = {Karlsson, Tobias and Stanfors, Maria},
  keyword      = {trade unions,risk aversion,gender,19th century,20th century,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {144},
  pages        = {37},
  publisher    = {Department of Economic History, Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market},
  title        = {To be or not to be? Risk attitudes and gender differences in union membership},
  year         = {2016},
}