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Impacts of Unionization on Employment, Product Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence From Nursing Homes

  • Aaron J. Sojourner
  • Robert J. Town
  • David C. Grabowski
  • Michelle M. Chen

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17733.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17733
Note: HC LS
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521464673 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  3. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1999. "Do unions make enterprises insolvent?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 510-527, July.
  4. Hirsch, Barry, 2003. "What Do Unions Do for Economic Performance?," IZA Discussion Papers 892, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  9. Gertler, Paul J & Waldman, Donald M, 1992. "Quality-Adjusted Cost Functions and Policy Evaluation in the Nursing Home Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1232-56, December.
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  11. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. Thomas J. Holmes, 2006. "Geographic spillover of unionism," Staff Report 368, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  18. 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.
  19. Elhanan Helpman & Paul Krugman, 1987. "Market Structure and Foreign Trade: Increasing Returns, Imperfect Competition, and the International Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026258087x, June.
  20. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1999. "Do Unions Make Enterprises Insolvent?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 510-527, July.
  21. 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.
  22. Cawley, John & Grabowski, David C. & Hirth, Richard A., 2006. "Factor substitution in nursing homes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 234-247, March.
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