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Faculty Preferences over Unionization: Evidence from Open Letters at Two Research Universities

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  • Joel Waldfogel

Abstract

What determines employee preferences for unionizing their workplaces? A substantial literature addresses this question with surveys on worker attitudes and pay. Unionization drives at the Universities of Minnesota and Washington have given rise to open letters of support or opposition from over 1,000 faculty at Washington and support from over 200 at Minnesota. Combining these expressions with publicly available data on salary, job titles, department affiliation, research productivity, teaching success, and political contributions from over 5,000 faculty, we provide new estimates of the determinants of faculty preferences for unionization at research universities. We find that faculty with higher pay and greater research productivity are less supportive of unionization, even after controlling for job title and department. Attitudes matter as well: after accounting for pay and productivity, faculty in fields documented elsewhere to have more politically liberal participants are more likely to support unionization.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Waldfogel, 2016. "Faculty Preferences over Unionization: Evidence from Open Letters at Two Research Universities," NBER Working Papers 22149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22149
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rebecca S. Demsetz, 1993. "Voting Behavior in Union Representation Elections: The Influence of Skill Homogeneity and Skill Group Size," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 99-113, October.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2003. "What Effect do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would 'What Do Unions Do' Be Surprised?," NBER Working Papers 9973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Arthur Hosios & Aloysius Siow, 2004. "Unions without rents: the curious economics of faculty unions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 28-52, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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