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Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961-1999

Author

Listed:
  • David S. Lee

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Alexandre Mas

    (UC Berkeley and NBER)

Abstract

We estimate the effect of new unionization on firms? equity value over the 1961-1999 period using a newly assembled sample of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation elections matched to stock market data. Event-study estimates show an average union effect on the equity value of the firm equivalent to a cost of at least $40,500 per unionized worker. At the same time, point estimates from a regression-discontinuity design comparing the stock market impact of close union election wins to close losses are considerably smaller and close to zero. We find a negative relationship between the cumulative abnormal returns and the vote share in support of the union, allowing us to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings. Using the magnitudes from the analysis, we calibrate a structural median voter model of endogenous union determination in order to conduct counterfactual policy simulations of policies that would marginally increase the ease of unionization.

Suggested Citation

  • David S. Lee & Alexandre Mas, 2009. "Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961-1999," Working Papers 1117, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:547
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unions; stock prices; unionization impact; firm equity;

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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