This paper presents a new dynamic model of union density that exhibits multiple equilibria and pathdependency. The model builds upon (Freeman, R.B., 1998. Spurts in union growth: defining moments and social processes. In: Bordo, M., Goldin, C., White, E. (Eds.), The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the 20th Century. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago) who identified the importance of union spending on organizing and business spending on opposing unions. It emphasizes the demand for union representation that depends on wage bargaining outcomes, the state of labor law, and socio-economic factors impacting public attitudes to unions. The model is used to provide a narrative account of the historical evolution of union density in the U.S. and to identify factors important for its future evolution.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization Vol. 62, Issue 2, p. 237-254