Call for papers: Research Workshop: "The future of trade unions"

The Departments of Economics at the University of Mainz and the University of Mainz, Germany, invite papers for a one day workshop on 13 June 2012 in Mainz on "The future of trade unions". Our keynote speaker is John Pencavel from Stanford University.

There is no doubt that trade unions influence economic acivities of a country. There is quite some dispute, however, whether the influence of trade unions is positive or negative. Critics and standard economic theory emphasize that trade unions are responsible for unemployment as they push up wages above the market clearing level. Supporters also stress positive contributions: unions provide a "collective voice" (Freeman and Medoff, 1984), they can be seen as the precursor of the modern welfare state (Brugiavini et al., 2001, ch. II.2.1), they play a " constructive role <...> in providing individuals with an opportunity to participate in fashioning their work environment" (Pencavel, 2005) or they collect information, improve occupational health and safety at the workplace and thereby increase output and welfare of an economy (Donado and Wälde, 2011), to name just a few positive examples.

It is the objective of this workshop to bring together economists who also see "the good face" of trade unions (or of any social group more generally speaking). Society is more than a group of individuals, it is rather a group of groups who mostly contribute in some useful way to society. We welcome analyses of union behaviour (or social groups more generally) both from an empirical and theoretical perspective.

The deadline for submissions is 22 April 2012. Authors of selected papers will be notified of the decision shortly thereafter. The Department of Economics can cover travel and accommodation costs for all speakers and discussants.

Please send your paper as an email attachment to Alejandro Donado.

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