Chantal Pezold

Working Papers:

with Simon Jäger and Patrick Nüß, NBER Working Paper 31988


We study how labor market conditions affect unionization decisions. Tight labor markets might spur unionization, e.g., by reducing the threat of unemployment after management opposition or employer retaliation in response to a unionization attempt. Tightness might also weaken unionization by providing attractive outside alternatives to engaging in costly unionization. Drawing on a large-scale, representative survey experiment among U.S. workers, we show that an increase in worker beliefs about labor market tightness moderately raises support for union activity. Effect sizes are small as they imply that moving from trough to peak of the business cycle increases workers' probability of voting for a union by only one percentage point. To study equilibrium effects, we draw on three quasi-experimental research designs using data from across U.S. states and counties over several decades. We find no systematic effect of changes in aggregate labor market tightness on union membership, union elections, and strikes. Overall, our results challenge the notion that labor market tightness significantly drives U.S. unionization.

Work in Progress:

Union Power and Electoral Voice of Workers

Master's Thesis

Unions and Technology

with Daron Acemoglu, Kjell Salvanes and Alexander Willén

The Economics of Resetting the Biological Clock

with Abi Adams-Prassl and Nina Roussille

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