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LERA Best Papers VI: Unions and Firm Concentration

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)

Hosted By: Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • Chair: Aaron J. Sojourner, University of Minnesota

Recent Longitudinal Evidence of Size and Union Threat Effects by Gender on Wages and Benefits

Phanindra V. Wunnava
Middlebury College


It is evident (empirics based on data from the NLSY79 covering years 2000 through 2012) that both male and female workers in medium/larger establishments receive not only higher wages but also have a higher probability of participating in benefit programs than those in smaller establishments. This reinforces the well-documented "size" effect. Further, the firm size wage effects are much larger for men than women. The union wage effect decreases with establishment size for both genders. This supports the argument that large nonunion firms pay higher wages to discourage the entrance of unions (i.e., the "threat" effect argument). In addition, the union wage premium is higher for males across firm sizes relative to females. This implies that unions in the large establishments may have a role to play in achieving a narrowing of the gender union wage gap. Further, given the presence of noticeable gender differences in estimated union effects on benefits [such as health insurance, maternity leave, life insurance, and retirement], unions should not treat both genders similarly.

Keywords: size effect, threat effect, fringe benefits, compensation, gender, union-nonunion, random effects, NLSY79
JEL Classification: J16, J31, J32, and J51

Management Opposition, Strikes and Union Threat

Patrick Nüß
Kiel University


I estimate management opposition against unions in terms of hiring discrimination by a large scale field experiment in the German labor market. The results show that callback rates for union members decrease significantly in the presence of high sectoral union density and large firm size. I further explore how this effect varies with regional and sectoral labor dispute intensity and find that management opposition is stronger when a sector is exposed to an intense labor dispute. There is evidence that the observed management opposition can be explained by sectoral union threat effects. Sectors with lower hiring discrimination have a lower coverage of collective agreements and in the absence of a collective agreement they are less likely to follow collective agreement wage setting.

Examining the Effect of Employer Concentration on Chinese Trade Shock

Lucombo J. Luveia
Howard University
David W. Dongo
Howard University


Using commuting zone-level data analysis, this research assesses the impact of Employer Concentration, the extent to which a small number of firms account for a large proportion of employment, on Chinese Trade Shock, the swift rise of import penetration from China to the U.S,. The paper extends the work by Luveia and Dongoi as well as Acemoglu et al. (2014) on the effects of Chinse import penetration on US job market. The paper seeks to investigate the reverse relationship on the effect of Chinese trade shock on employer concentration. Using commuting zone-level data analysis, the study seeks to examine whether employer concentration played a significant role in the swift rise of import penetration from China to the U.S. More specifically, the paper seeks to investigate whether employer concentration observed across the US might have compounded or reduced the magnitude of import penetration from China to the U.S overall and specifically in those industries directly exposed to trade or those industries not directly exposed to trade(non-exposed tradable and non-exposed and tradable industries).

Alexander Herzog-Stein
Hans Boeckler Foundation
Jaime Lancaster
Humboldt State University
Xue Zhang
Cornell University
JEL Classifications
  • J5 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining