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The Impact of Union Corruption on Union Membership




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    •  The authors' affiliations are, respectively, Assistant Professor of Economics, Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana. E-mail:; The Billy J. Walker/Wells Fargo Endowed Professor of Finance, Jacksonville University, Davis College of Business, Jacksonville, Florida. The authors would like to acknowledge the editor and two anonymous referees.


This paper examines the relationship between union corruption actions and union membership. State-level data from the Office of Labor-Management Standards, and other sources, are utilized over two study periods (1974–2000 and 2001–2008) to test three hypotheses, including the union corruption hypothesis, as possible explanations for the decline in union membership in the United States over time. Although our initial findings suggest a negative relationship exists between union corruption and membership, after removing the possibility of simultaneous equations bias, we find that changes in corruption do not influence changes in union membership in our sample.