Unionization and Firm Performance: The Impact on Profits, Growth and Productivity
AbstractThis paper examines the impact of unionization on profit- ability, growth and productivity using time series data on over 900 product line businesses in the North American manufacturing sector (predominantly U.S.). The first section of the paper develops a simple theoretical framework for studying the effect of the union on firm performance. A key result of this analysis is that information about union wage and productivity effects is not sufficient to permit prediction of the sign (or magnitude) of consequent changes in the rate of return on capital; one must know the parameters of production and demand. Expanding the model to allow for the effects of market structure and alternative bargaining regimes establishes the need to examine several indicators of firm performance in assessing the impact of the union. The empirical analysis reveals sizeable negative union effects on profitability, but growth, productivity and the capital-labor ratio appear to be little affected by unionization in this data. The data are thus consistent with a model of union-firm interaction in which collective bargaining affects the distribution of profits, but leaves real magnitudes unchanged. The evidence suggests, however, that unionization may have longer term implications for efficiency since the impact on profitability appears to fall most heavily on firms with relatively little market power.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0990.
Date of creation: Sep 1982
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1979. "The Two Faces of Unionism," NBER Working Papers 0364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Freeman, Richard B, 1980. "The Exit-Voice Tradeoff in the Labor Market: Unionism, Job Tenure, Quits, and Separations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 643-73, June.
- repec:pri:indrel:382 is not listed on IDEAS
- Stephen Martin, 1979. "Advertising, Concentration, and Profitability: The Simultaneity Problem," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 639-647, Autumn.
- Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
- Kim B. Clark, 1980. "The impact of unionization on productivity: A case study," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(4), pages 451-469, July.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.