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Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes

Author

Listed:
  • Sojourner, Aaron

    (Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

  • Frandsen, Brigham R.

    (Brigham Young University)

  • Town, Robert J.

    (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Grabowski, David C.

    (Harvard Medical School)

  • Chen, Michelle M.

    (Florida International University)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of nursing home unionization on numerous labor, establishment, and consumer outcomes using a regression discontinuity design. We find negative effects of unionization on staffing levels and no decline in care quality, suggesting positive labor productivity effects. Some evidence suggests that nursing homes in less competitive local product markets and those with lower union density at the time of election experienced stronger union employment effects. Unionization appears to raise wages for a given worker while also shifting the composition of the workforce away from higher-earning workers. By combining credible identification of union effects, a comprehensive set of outcomes over time with measures of market-level characteristics, this study generates some of the best evidence available on many controversial questions in the economics of unions. Furthermore, it generates evidence from the service sector, which has grown in importance and where evidence has been thin.

Suggested Citation

  • Sojourner, Aaron & Frandsen, Brigham R. & Town, Robert J. & Grabowski, David C. & Chen, Michelle M., 2014. "Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes," IZA Discussion Papers 8240, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8240
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    Cited by:

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    2. David Bardey & Luigi Siciliani, 2021. "Nursing‐homes' competition and distributional implications when the market is two‐sided," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 472-500, May.
    3. Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood & Henry Hyatt, 2014. "Who do Unions Target? Unionization over the Life-Cycle of U.S. Businesses," NBER Working Papers 20151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Marotzke Petra & Anderton Robert & Bairrao Ana & Berson Clémence & Tóth Peter, 2020. "Asymmetric wage adjustment and employment in European firms," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 1-25, June.
    5. Tobias Brändle & Laszlo Goerke, 2018. "The one constant: a causal effect of collective bargaining on employment growth? Evidence from German linked‐employer‐employee data," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 65(5), pages 445-478, November.
    6. Sojourner, Aaron & Yang, Jooyoung, 2015. "Effects of Unionization on Workplace-Safety Enforcement: Regression-Discontinuity Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9610, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Barth, Erling & Bryson, Alex & Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2017. "Union Density, Productivity and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 11111, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Aaron Sojourner & José Pacas, 2019. "The Relationship Between Union Membership and Net Fiscal Impact," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 86-107, January.
    9. Susan Feng Lu & Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu, 2017. "Do Mandatory Overtime Laws Improve Quality? Staffing Decisions and Operational Flexibility of Nursing Homes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(11), pages 3566-3585, November.
    10. Pedro S. Martins, 2021. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 59(2), pages 335-369, June.
    11. Petra Marotzke & Robert Anderton & Ana Bairrao & Clémence Berson & Peter Tóth, 2016. "Wage adjustment and employment in Europe," Discussion Papers 2016-19, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    12. Arindrajit Dube & Ethan Kaplan & Owen Thompson, 2016. "Nurse Unions and Patient Outcomes," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(4), pages 803-833, August.
    13. John T. Addison, 2016. "Collective bargaining systems and macroeconomic and microeconomic flexibility: the quest for appropriate institutional forms in advanced economies," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-53, December.
    14. Martin Hackmann & Joerg Heining & Roman Klimke & Maria Polyakova & Holger Seibert, 2021. "General Equilibrium Effects of Insurance Expansions: Evidence from Long-Term Care Labor Markets," Upjohn Working Papers 21-357, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    15. Brändle, Tobias & Goerke, Laszlo, 2018. "The One Constant: A Causal Effect of Collective Bargaining on Employment Growth?," IZA Discussion Papers 11518, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Matthew Knepper, 2020. "From the Fringe to the Fore: Labor Unions and Employee Compensation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 98-112, March.
    17. Cassandra M.D. Hart & Aaron J. Sojourner, 2015. "Unionization and Productivity: Evidence from Charter Schools," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 422-448, July.
    18. Aaron Sojourner & Jooyoung Yang, 2022. "Effects of Union Certification on Workplace-Safety Enforcement: Regression-Discontinuity Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 75(2), pages 373-401, March.
    19. Pedro Silva Martins, 2019. "The Microeconomic Impacts of Employee Representatives: Evidence from Membership Thresholds," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 591-622, October.
    20. Eunice S. Han, 2020. "The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers: Evidence from the District–Teacher Matched Data on Teacher Turnover," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 316-352, April.
    21. Schmalz, Martin, 2018. "Unionization, Cash, and Leverage," CEPR Discussion Papers 12595, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Rudy Douven & Minke Remmerswaal & Ilaria Mosca, 2014. "Unintended effects of reimbursement schedules in mental health care," CPB Discussion Paper 292, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    23. Ling Li & Shawn Rohlin & Perry Singleton, 2022. "Labor Unions and Workplace Safety," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 75(2), pages 402-426, March.
    24. Douven, Rudy & Remmerswaal, Minke & Mosca, Ilaria, 2015. "Unintended effects of reimbursement schedules in mental health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 139-150.
    25. Rudy Douven & Minke Remmerswaal & Ilaria Mosca, 2014. "Unintended effects of reimbursement schedules in mental health care," CPB Discussion Paper 292.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    regression discontinuity; health care quality; trade union; nursing homes; labor productivity; collective bargaining;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations

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