Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes

66 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2014

See all articles by Aaron Sojourner

Aaron Sojourner

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; University of Minnesota; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Brigham R. Frandsen

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics

Robert J. Town

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David C. Grabowski

Harvard University - Department of Health Care Policy

Min (Michelle) Chen

Florida International University (FIU)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of nursing home unionization on numerous labor, establishment, and consumer outcomes using a regression discontinuity design. We find negative effects of unionization on staffing levels and no decline in care quality, suggesting positive labor productivity effects. Some evidence suggests that nursing homes in less competitive local product markets and those with lower union density at the time of election experienced stronger union employment effects. Unionization appears to raise wages for a given worker while also shifting the composition of the workforce away from higher-earning workers. By combining credible identification of union effects, a comprehensive set of outcomes over time with measures of market-level characteristics, this study generates some of the best evidence available on many controversial questions in the economics of unions. Furthermore, it generates evidence from the service sector, which has grown in importance and where evidence has been thin.

Keywords: trade union, nursing homes, labor productivity, regression discontinuity, collective bargaining, health care quality

JEL Classification: J0, J5, D2

Suggested Citation

Sojourner, Aaron J. and Frandsen, Brigham R. and Town, Robert J. and Grabowski, David C. and Chen, Min (Michelle), Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8240, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2450431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2450431

Aaron J. Sojourner (Contact Author)

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

300 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4686
United States

University of Minnesota

Carlson School of Management
MN
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Brigham R. Frandsen

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States

Robert J. Town

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David C. Grabowski

Harvard University - Department of Health Care Policy ( email )

25 Shattuck Street
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Min (Michelle) Chen

Florida International University (FIU) ( email )

University Park
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
United States

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