Labor Unions and Corporate Financial Leverage: The Bargaining Device versus Crowding-out Hypotheses
54 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2014 Last revised: 18 May 2017
Date Written: May 17, 2017
We examine the empirical relation between labor unions and firm indebtedness in the contemporary United States. Our identification strategy exploits two negative exogenous shocks in union power and the threat of unionization. Further, in the context of panel regressions, we develop a novel firm-level proxy for the bargaining power of labor using collective bargaining information from mandatory IRS filings from 1999 to 2013. Across a battery of tests, we document evidence in favor of a crowding-out hypothesis - namely, a substitution effect between labor power and financial leverage. Notably, this effect is more pronounced in firms in labor-intensive and unionized industries.
Keywords: Labor Unions, Capital Structure, Bargaining, Operating Leverage, Natural Experiment
JEL Classification: J31, J51, G32, G33, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation