The Impact of Unionization on Establishment Closure: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Representation Elections

55 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2002 Last revised: 27 Oct 2010

See all articles by John E. DiNardo

John E. DiNardo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Lee

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2002

Abstract

Using data on more than 27,000 establishments (1983-1999) in the United States, this paper produces estimates of the causal effect of unionization of employer closure by exploiting the fact that most employers become 'unionized' as a partial consequence of a secret ballot election among the workers. If employers where unions barely won the election (e.g. by one vote) are ex ante comparable in all other ways to employers where unions barely lost (by one vote), differences in their subsequent outcomes should represent the true impact of union recognition. The regression discontinuity analysis finds little or no union effect on short- and long-run employer survival rates over 1- to 18-year horizons. We thus conclude that evidence of large effects of unions would more likely be found 1) along the within-employer (intensive margin) of employment and/or 2) in analyses of union threat effects.

Suggested Citation

DiNardo, John and Lee, David S., The Impact of Unionization on Establishment Closure: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Representation Elections (June 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8993. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=315990

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David S. Lee

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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