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The Effect of Unions on the Receipt of Unemployment Insurance Benefits


  • Budd, J.W.
  • McCall, B.P.


Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data for 1979–91, the authors analyze the effect of union representation on the likelihood that individuals eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits actually received those benefits. They find that unions had no statistically significant effect on the probability of benefit receipt among white-collar workers, but among eligible blue-collar workers, those who were laid off from union jobs were roughly 23% more likely than comparable nonunion workers to receive UI benefits. Although the analysis does not identify the reasons for this difference, two factors it appears to rule out as determinants are union-negotiated supplemental unemployment benefit plans and differences between union and nonunion workers in expected unemployment duration.
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Suggested Citation

  • Budd, J.W. & McCall, B.P., 1994. "The Effect of Unions on the Receipt of Unemployment Insurance Benefits," Papers 94-08, Minnesota - Industrial Relations Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:minnir:94-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward J. Schumacher, 1999. "What Explains Wage Differences Between Union Members and Covered Nonmembers?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 493-512, January.
    2. Blakemore, Arthur E & Hunt, Janet C & Kiker, B F, 1986. "Collective Bargaining and Union Membership Effects on the Wages of Male Youths," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 193-211, April.
    3. Alison L. Booth, 1985. "The Free Rider Problem and a Social Custom Model of Trade Union Membership," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 253-261.
    4. Hirsch, Barry T, 1993. "Trucking Deregulation and Labor Earnings: Is the Union Premium a Compensating Differential?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(2), pages 279-301, April.
    5. James J. Heckman, 1976. "Introduction to "Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4"," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Davis, Joe C & Huston, John H, 1993. "Right-to-Work Laws and Free Riding," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(1), pages 52-58, January.
    7. Ellwood, David T & Fine, Glenn, 1987. "The Impact of Right-to-Work Laws on Union Organizing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 250-273, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-433, June.
    10. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    11. Farber, Henry S, 1984. "Right-to-Work Laws and the Extent of Unionization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 319-352, July.
    12. Robin Naylor, 1989. "Strikes, Free Riders, and Social Customs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 771-785.
    13. Gregory M. Duncan & Duane E. Leigh, 1980. "Wage Determination in the Union and Nonunion Sectors: A Sample Selectivity Approach," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 24-34, October.
    14. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-979, July.
    15. Ethel B. Jones, 1982. "Union/Nonunion Differentials: Membership or Coverage?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 276-285.
    16. McCall, Brian P, 1995. "The Impact of Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels on Recipiency," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 189-198, April.
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    Cited by:

    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. David Weil, 2004. "Individual Rights and Collective Agents. The Role of Old and New Workplace Institutions in the Regulation of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters,in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 13-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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).
    4. David Weil, 2003. "Individual Rights and Collective Agents: The Role of Old and New Workplace Institutions in the Regulation of Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 9565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. John W. Budd, 2010. "Does Employee Ignorance Undermine Shared Capitalism?," NBER Chapters,in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 291-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Morris M. Kleiner & David Weil, 2010. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of National Labor Relations Act Remedies: Analysis and Comparison with Other Workplace Penalty Policies," NBER Working Papers 16626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Chang Hee Lee & Mingwei Liu, 2011. "Collective Bargaining in Transition: Measuring the Effects of Collective Voice in China," Chapters,in: The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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