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Union Wage Effect: New Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data


  • Changhui Kang

    () (National University of Singapore)


This paper estimates a union wage effect, using matched employer- employee data and estimation models that control an association between a worker's union status and an employer's characteristics. Failure to control this association may cause previous studies' estimates of the union wage effect to be biased. As long as a worker is more likely to become a union worker in a firm that offers her a higher potential for better pay, the union status is (positively) associated with employer characteristics. The empirical finding of this paper verifies this possibility. Estimates of the union wage effect are shown to be upward-biased in the estimation models without control of the employer characteristics. The estimated union wage effect of this study (in an approximate range of 0.2"3.2 percent) is less than a quarter of cross-sectional estimates, and half of individual panel estimates with unobservable person effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Changhui Kang, 2003. "Union Wage Effect: New Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," Departmental Working Papers wp0302, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nus:nusewp:wp0302

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    2. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    4. Stewart, Mark B, 1990. "Union Wage Differentials, Product Market Influences and the Division of Rents," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1122-1137, December.
    5. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    6. Even, W.E. & Macpherson, D.A., 1992. "Employer Size and Compensation: The Role of Worker Characteristics," Working Papers 1992_09_5, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    7. 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.
    8. John M. Abowd & Henry S. Farber, 1982. "Job Queues and the Union Status of Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 354-367, April.
    9. Chowdhury, Gopa & Nickell, Stephen, 1985. "Hourly Earnings in the United States: Another Look at Unionization, Schooling, Sickness, and Unemployment Using PSID Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 38-69, January.
    10. Duncan, Greg J & Stafford, Frank P, 1980. "Do Union Members Receive Compensating Wage Differentials?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 355-371, June.
    11. Robinson, Chris & Tomes, Nigel, 1984. "Union Wage Differentials in the Public and Private Sectors: A Simultaneous Equations Specification," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 106-127, January.
    12. George Jakubson, 1991. "Estimation and Testing of the Union Wage Effect Using Panel Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 971-991.
    13. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
    14. 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.
    15. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "Econometric analyses of linked employer-employee data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 53-74, March.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    19. Robinson, Chris, 1989. "The Joint Determination of Union Status and Union Wage Effects: Some Tests of Alternative Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 639-667, June.
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    More about this item


    Union; Wage; Endogeneity; Person Effect; Firm Effect;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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