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Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961--1999

  • David S. Lee
  • Alexandre Mas

We estimate the effect of new private-sector unionization on publicly traded firms' equity value in the United States over the 1961--1999 period using a newly assembled sample of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation elections matched to stock market data. Event-study estimates show an average union effect on the equity value of the firm equivalent to $40,500 per unionized worker, an effect that takes 15 to 18 months after unionization to fully materialize, and one that could not be detected by a short-run event study. At the same time, point estimates from a regression discontinuity design--comparing the stock market impact of close union election wins to close losses--are considerably smaller and close to zero. We find a negative relationship between the cumulative abnormal returns and the vote share in support of the union, allowing us to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjr058
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 127 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 333-378

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:1:p:333-378
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