IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Recent Longitudinal Evidence of Size and Union Threat Effects across Genders


  • Wunnava, Phanindra V.

    () (Middlebury College)


Based on data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth covering years 2000 through 2008, it is evident that both male and female workers in medium/larger establishments receive not only higher wages but also have a higher probability of participating in benefit programs than those in smaller establishments. This reinforces the well-documented 'size' effect. Further, the firm size wage effects are much larger for men than women. The union wage effect decreases with establishment size for both genders. This supports the argument that large nonunion firms pay higher wages to discourage the entrance of unions (i.e., the 'threat' effect argument). In addition, the union wage premium is higher for males for small and medium firm sizes relative to females. This implies that unions in the large establishments may have a role to play in achieving a narrowing of the gender union wage gap. In other words, the threat of unionization could reduce union wage premiums for both genders as firm size increases. Given the presence of noticeable gender differences in estimated union effects on the different components of the compensation structure, unions should not treat both genders similarly with respect to wages and benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Wunnava, Phanindra V., 2012. "Recent Longitudinal Evidence of Size and Union Threat Effects across Genders," IZA Discussion Papers 6779, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6779

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dunn, L F, 1986. "Work Disutility and Compensating Differentials: Estimation of Factors in the Link between Wages and Firm Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(1), pages 67-73, February.
    2. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2005. "Why do large firms pay higher wages? evidence from matched worker-firm data," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8743, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Campbell, Carl M, III, 1993. "Do Firms Pay Efficiency Wages? Evidence with Data at the Firm Level," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 442-470, July.
    4. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2007. "The establishment-size wage premium: evidence from European countries," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 34(5), pages 427-451, December.
    5. Bramley, Donald G. & Wunnava, Phanindra V. & Robinson, Michael D., 1989. "A note on union-non-union benefit differentials and size of establishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 85-88.
    6. Robinson, Michael D. & Wunnava, Phanindra V., 1991. "Plant size, tenure, and discrimination in internal labor markets : Evidence on sex differentials," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 197-202, June.
    7. Wunnava, Phanindra V & Ewing, Bradley T, 2000. "Union-Nonunion Gender Wage and Benefit Differentials across Establishment Sizes," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 47-57, August.
    8. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435.
    9. Roberto Pedace, 2010. "Firm Size-Wage Premiums: Using Employer Data to Unravel the Mystery," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 163-182.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    size effect; threat effect; random effects; fringe benefits; compensation; gender; union-nonunion;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6779. 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: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.