Centre for Vocational Education Research LSE RSS Email Facebook Twitter


CEP discussion paper
Union Free-Riding in Britain and New Zealand
Alex Bryson
January 2006
Paper No' CEPDP0713:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J50

Tags: free-riding; trade union; new zealand; britain

The percentage of workers who choose not to join the union available to them at their workplace has been rising in Britain and New Zealand. Social custom, union instrumentality, the fixed costs of joining, employee perceptions of management attitudes to unionization and employee problems at work all influence the propensity to free-ride. Ideological convictions regarding the role of unions also play some role, as do private excludable goods. There is little indication of employer-inspired policies substituting for unionization where unions are already present. Having accounted for all these factors, free-riding remains more common in New Zealand than in Britain.