# Dissertation

Mancur Olson made strong claims about the importance of encompassing'' groups for economic performance. He argues that broadly-based interest groups, especially those that transcend regional or industrial barriers, are more likely to push for policies that yield longer-term benefits for a larger proportion of the population. Groups with narrower constituencies tend to pursue parochial goals with the aim of securing a bigger share of the national income for themselves. Observers of labor market institutions have relied on this line of reasoning, especially pertaining to the centralization of wage bargaining, to explain the variance in macroeconomic performance of rich democracies since the oil shocks. Even though the encompassingness'' of unions drives these theories no one has attempted to explain how union federations develop the capacity to bargain at the national level or the wide variation they display in their abilities to influence outcomes they care about. This project begins to explain how economic actors aggregate their interests and how these aggregates develop the capacity to influence national-level policy, with an empirical focus on confederations of national labor unions.