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

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.

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://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjr058
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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 Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

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

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:1:p:333-378
Contact details of provider:

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. Steven G. Allen, 1986. "Unionization and Productivity in Office Building and School Construction," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(2), pages 187-201, January.
  2. Stefano DellaVigna & Joshua M. Pollet, 2007. "Demographics and Industry Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1667-1702, December.
  3. Cameron, A. Colin & Gelbach, Jonah B. & Miller, Douglas L., 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249.
  4. Kim B. Clark, 1980. "The Impact of Unionization on Productivity: A Case Study," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(4), pages 451-469, July.
  5. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  6. William J. Moore & Robert J. Newman, 1985. "The Effects of Right-to-Work Laws: A Review of the Literature," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(4), pages 571-585, July.
  7. Mitchell, Mark L & Stafford, Erik, 2000. "Managerial Decisions and Long-Term Stock Price Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(3), pages 287-329, July.
  8. Asquith, Paul, 1983. "Merger bids, uncertainty, and stockholder returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 51-83, April.
  9. Cusatis, Patrick J. & Miles, James A. & Woolridge, J. Randall, 1993. "Restructuring through spinoffs*1: The stock market evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 293-311, June.
  10. Freeman, Richard B & Kleiner, Morris M, 1990. "The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S8-25, January.
  11. Greenstone, Michael & Oyer, Paul & Vissing-Jorgensen, Annette, 2005. "Mandated Disclosure, Stock Returns, and the 1964 Securities Acts Amendments," Research Papers 1869r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  12. Barber, Brad M. & Lyon, John D., 1997. "Detecting long-run abnormal stock returns: The empirical power and specification of test statistics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 341-372, March.
  13. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2002. "The Impact of Unionization on Establishment Closure: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Representation Elections," NBER Working Papers 8993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Brian E. Becker & Craig A. Olson, 1986. "The Impact of Strikes on Shareholder Equity," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(3), pages 425-438, April.
  15. Brian E. Becker, 1987. "Concession Bargaining: The Impact on Shareholders' Equity," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(2), pages 268-279, January.
  16. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  17. Emek Basker, 2006. "The Causes and Consequences of Wal-Mart's Growth," Working Papers 0611, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  18. Farber, Henry S, 1978. "Individual Preferences and Union Wage Determination: The Case of the United Mine Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 923-42, October.
  19. Harvey, Campbell R., 1989. "Time-varying conditional covariances in tests of asset pricing models," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 289-317.
  20. Eugene F Fama, . "Market Efficiency, Long-Term Returns, and Behavioral Finance," CRSP working papers 448, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  21. Steven G. Allen, 1983. "Unionization and Productivity in Office Building and School Construction," NBER Working Papers 1139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. repec:adr:anecst:y:1996:i:41-42:p:07 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Mandelker, Gershon, 1974. "Risk and return: The case of merging firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 303-335, December.
  24. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  25. Harrison Hong & Terence Lim & Jeremy C. Stein, 1998. "Bad News Travels Slowly: Size, Analyst Coverage and the Profitability of Momentum Strategies," NBER Working Papers 6553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Orley C. Ashenfelter & David Card, 1982. "Time Series Representation of Economic Variables and Alternative Models of the Labor Market," Working Papers 528, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  27. Thomas J. Holmes, 2006. "Geographic spillover of unionism," Staff Report 368, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Kim B. Clark, 1980. "Unionization and Productivity: Micro-Econometric Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 613-639.
  29. Steven G. Allen, 1985. "The Effect of Unionism on Productivity in Privately and Publicly Owned Hospitals and Nursing Homes," NBER Working Papers 1649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. repec:adr:anecst:y:1996:i:41-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Clark, Kim B, 1984. "Unionization and Firm Performance: The Impact on Profits, Growth, and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 893-919, December.
  32. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
  33. Roni Michaely & Richard H. Thaler & Kent Womack, 1994. "Price Reactions to Dividend Initiations and Omissions: Overreaction or Drift?," NBER Working Papers 4778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Abowd, John M, 1989. "The Effect of Wage Bargains on the Stock Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 774-800, September.
  35. William N. Cooke, 1985. "The Failure to Negotiate First Contracts: Determinants and Policy Implications," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(2), pages 163-178, January.
  36. Henry S. Farber, 1980. "An Analysis of Final-Offer Arbitration," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(4), pages 683-705, December.
  37. Merwin W. Mitchell & Joe A. Stone, 1992. "Union Effects on Productivity: Evidence from Western U.S. Sawmills," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 135-145, October.
  38. Robert J. Lalonde & Gérard Marschke & Kenneth Troske, 1996. "Using Longitudinal Data on Establishments to Analyze the Effects of Union Organizing Campaigns in the United States," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 41-42, pages 155-185.
  39. Stephen G. Bronars & Donald R. Deere, 1991. "The Threat of Unionization, the Use of Debt, and the Preservation of Shareholder Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 231-254.
  40. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2004. "Economic Impacts of Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001," NBER Working Papers 10598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Ikenberry, David L. & Rankine, Graeme & Stice, Earl K., 1996. "What Do Stock Splits Really Signal?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 357-375, September.
  42. Jaffe, Jeffrey F, 1974. "Special Information and Insider Trading," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(3), pages 410-28, July.
  43. repec:adr:anecst:y:1996:i:41-42:p:08 is not listed on IDEAS
  44. Rose, Nancy L, 1987. "Labor Rent Sharing and Regulation: Evidence from the Trucking Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1146-78, December.
  45. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year Perspective," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 339-350, July.
  46. Barry T. Hirsch, 1991. "Labor Unions and the Economic Performance of Unions," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number luepf, November.
  47. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  48. John Dinardo & Kevin F. Hallock, 2002. "When Unions “Mattered†: The Impact of Strikes on Financial Markets, 1925–1937," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(2), pages 219-233, January.
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:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:1:p:333-378. 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: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

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.