Economic Impacts of Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001

64 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2004 Last revised: 30 Aug 2009

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: July 2004

Abstract

Economic impacts of unionization on employers are difficult to estimate in the absence of large, representative data on establishments with union status information. Estimates are also confounded by selection bias, because unions could organize at highly profitable enterprises that are more likely to grow and pay higher wages. Using multiple establishment-level data sets that represent establishments that faced organizing drives in the U.S. during 1984-1999, this paper uses a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of unionization on business survival, employment, output, productivity, and wages. Essentially, outcomes for employers where unions barely won the election (e.g. by one vote) are compared to those where the unions barely lost. The analysis finds small impacts on all outcomes that we examine; estimates for wages are close to zero. The evidence suggests that at least in recent decades the legal mandate that requires the employer to bargain with a certified union has had little economic impact on employers, because unions have been somewhat unsuccessful at securing significant wage gains.

Suggested Citation

DiNardo, John and Lee, David S., Economic Impacts of Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001 (July 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10598, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=563042

John DiNardo (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

5238 Weill Hall
735 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
734-647-7843 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jdinardo/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David S. Lee

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

Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-4628 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
68
Abstract Views
1,135
rank
367,697
PlumX Metrics