IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Do firms' political connections depress the union wage effect? Evidence from China

Listed author(s):
  • Song, Yang
  • Yang, Jidong
  • Yang, Qijing

Our paper reconciles the debated literature on the role of the Chinese unions by exploring the heterogeneous effects of unionization on wages in firms with and without political connections. We utilize a survey of 1268 firms in 12 cities to verify our hypothesis that wages increase due to unionization, but this union wage effect is significantly depressed by firms' political connections. Through a detailed analysis of the mechanism behind the empirical results, we conclude that unions increase workers' wages by strengthening the bargaining power of workers, while this bargaining power can be weakened by firms' political connections. Our main conclusion is robust to a series of robustness checks. Moreover, the results from quantile regressions inform us that the union wage effect and the role of political connections may vary along with the firms' wage distribution. Our findings suggest that the solution to further increase wages for low-wage workers and reduce wage inequality is to make the labor union an independent organization which can freely bargain with firms in terms of workers' wages and benefits, rather than an agency subordinate to the government whose role can be affected by the government support and undermined largely by firms' political connections.

If 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.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043951X1630013X
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 183-198

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:38:y:2016:i:c:p:183-198
DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2016.01.006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as
in new window


  1. Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang & Wang, Yijiang, 2010. "Union effects on performance and employment relations: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 202-210, March.
  2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  3. David S. Lee & Alexandre Mas, 2012. "Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961--1999," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 333-378.
  4. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  5. Fan, Joseph P.H. & Wong, T.J. & Zhang, Tianyu, 2007. "Politically connected CEOs, corporate governance, and Post-IPO performance of China's newly partially privatized firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 330-357, May.
  6. Li, Hongbin & Meng, Lingsheng & Wang, Qian & Zhou, Li-An, 2008. "Political connections, financing and firm performance: Evidence from Chinese private firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 283-299, October.
  7. Dinlersoz, Emin & Greenwood, Jeremy, 2016. "The rise and fall of unions in the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 129-146.
  8. Louis N. Christofides & Andrew J. Oswald, 1992. "Real Wage Determination and Rent-Sharing in Collective Bargaining Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 985-1002.
  9. Sajid Anwar & Sizhong Sun, 2015. "Unionisation and Firm Performance in China’s Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 78-102, March.
  10. Fang, Tony & Ge, Ying, 2013. "Chinese Unions and Enterprises Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 7870, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Lanot, Gauthier & Walker, Ian, 1998. "The union/non-union wage differential: An application of semi-parametric methods," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 327-349, June.
  12. Amore, Mario Daniele & Bennedsen, Morten, 2013. "The value of local political connections in a low-corruption environment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 387-402.
  13. Emin M. Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 18079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "What Do Unions Do?-- The 2004 M-Brane Stringtwister Edition," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 26(4), pages 641-668, November.
  15. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2003. "Unionization and Wage Inequality: A Comparative Study of the U.S, the U.K., and Canada," NBER Working Papers 9473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Sojourner, Aaron J. & Yang, Jooyoung, 2015. "Effects of Unionization on Workplace-Safety Enforcement: Regression-Discontinuity Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Yang Yao & Ninghua Zhong, 2013. "Unions and Workers' Welfare in Chinese Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 633-667.
  18. Mingwei Liu, 2010. "Union Organizing in China: Still a Monolithic Labor Movement?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(1), pages 30-52, October.
  19. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1996. "Wages, Profits, and Rent-Sharing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 227-251.
  20. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
  21. Ying Ge, 2014. "Do Chinese Unions Have “Real” Effects On Employee Compensation?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 187-202, 01.
  22. Song, Yang, 2013. "Rising Chinese regional income inequality: The role of fiscal decentralization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 294-309.
  23. repec:ilo:ilowps:446818 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. John A. Abowd & Thomas Lemieux, 1993. "The Effects of Product Market Competition on Collective Bargaining Agreements: The Case of Foreign Competition in Canada," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 983-1014.
  25. Hongbin Li & Lingsheng Meng & Junsen Zhang, 2006. "Why Do Entrepreneurs Enter Politics? Evidence from China," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 559-578, July.
  26. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025.
  27. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
  28. repec:cen:wpaper:12-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Domadenik, Polona & Prašnikar, Janez & Svejnar, Jan, 2014. "Legal Corruption, Politically Connected Corporate Governance and Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8321, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:38:y:2016:i:c:p:183-198. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.