Date of Completion


Embargo Period



David Weakliem; Jeremy Pais

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


In this study, I analyze the determinants of total, private, and public sector union density among 191 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in the year 2000. In particular, I examine the effects of five measures of globalization (global capital, foreign direct investment, exports, foreign-born citizens, and foreign-born non-citizens) and four measures of labor market transformation (deindustrialization, corporate restructuring, bureaucratic burden, and casualization) on metropolitan union density while controlling for labor market structure, the business cycle, and the political climate. My analysis demonstrates that: 1) globalization and labor market transformation have moderately negative, but cross-cutting effects on union density; 2) globalization has a greater effect on public sector unions while economic determinants primarily affect private sector unions; and 3) labor market transformation and the political climate strongly affect all three measures of union density. This paper informs theoretical debates on unionization by providing a comprehensive accounting of the impact of globalization and labor market transformation on metropolitan union density.

Major Advisor

Michael Wallace