Wage Effects of Unionization and Occupational Licensing Coverage in the United States

Maury Gittleman and Morris M. Kleiner

Abstract

Recent estimates in standard models of wage determination for both unionization and occupational licensing have shown wage effects that are similar across the two institutions. These cross-sectional estimates use specialized data sets, with small sample sizes, for the period 2006 through 2008. Our analysis examines the impact of unions and licensing coverage on wage determination using new data collected on licensing statutes that are then linked to longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) from 1979 to 2010. We develop several approaches, using both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, to measure the impact of these two labor market institutions on wage determination. Our estimates of the economic returns to union coverage are greater than those for licensing requirements.