Labor unions and corporate financial leverage: The bargaining device versus crowding-out hypotheses

Keegan Woods, Kelvin Jui Keng Tan*, Robert Faff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examine the empirical relation between labor unions and firm indebtedness in the contemporary United States. Our identification strategy exploits two negative exogenous shocks in union power and the threat of unionization. Further, in the context of panel regressions, we develop a novel firm-level proxy for the bargaining power of labor using collective bargaining information from mandatory IRS filings from 1999 to 2013. Across a battery of tests, we document evidence in favor of a crowding-out hypothesis — namely, a substitution effect between labor power and financial leverage. Notably, this effect is more pronounced in firms in labor-intensive and unionized industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-44
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Financial Intermediation
Volume37
Early online date19 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

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