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The Effect of Unionism on Workers' Valuation of Future Pension Benefits


  • Duane E. Leigh


This paper investigates the impact of unionism on the pension benefits workers expect to receive on retirement. The valuation of future benefits by workers, rather than actual employer expenditures on pensions, is examined because expected benefits should be the more important variable in explaining the labor market behavior of individual workers. Analysis of data for middle-aged men, taken from the National Longitudinal Surveys, suggests that union workers are more knowledgeable than nonunion workers about their retirement benefits, and also the average union worker expects to receive a pension higher than that expected by the average nonunion worker. More specifically, among firms providing pensions, the expected benefits are actually lower in union firms than in nonunion firms, but that difference is outweighed by the fact that nonunion firms are much more likely than union firms to have no pension plan at all.

Suggested Citation

  • Duane E. Leigh, 1981. "The Effect of Unionism on Workers' Valuation of Future Pension Benefits," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 510-521, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:34:y:1981:i:4:p:510-521

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    Cited by:

    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    2. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark, 1985. "Unions, Pension Wealth, and Age-Compensation Profiles," NBER Working Papers 1677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1990. "Pensions and the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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