Relating Union Density to Wealth Inequality and Subjective Well-Being Across 13 OECD Countries


  • Erik Alexander Meurrens University of Florida



social science, sociology, union density, wealth inequality, well-being


Since the 1980s, the labor union density has gradually declined across member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), indicating a lowering percentage of employees represented by unions. In the United States, the declining union density has been shown to have an impact on wealth inequality, which has increased correspondingly. With a lack of representation by labor unions, workers are less secure in their jobs, which could cause a reduction in job satisfaction and an increase in stress. Therefore, a declining union density can also influence the subjective well-being of an impacted group. The aim of this research was to identify and investigate the potential relationships between union density and wage inequality and union density and subjective well-being across thirteen countries through regression analysis. The thirteen countries selected were all developed, industrialized democracies and members of the OECD. Simple linear regressions were made using the most recent national data for union density, wealth inequality, and subjective well-being. Regression analysis was performed on the most recent data points of the countries as a group, and for each country individually over a period of time. There was a moderate-strong, negative correlation (R = - 0.608) for the regression of wealth inequality versus union density, yet inconsistent correlation coefficients between countries individually. There was a moderate-weak, positive correlation (R = 0.353) for the regression of subjective well-being versus union density, with more consistent correlation coefficients between countries individually.


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Social & Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education