Do Unions Really Spur More Pension Benefits?

A new study challenges common beliefs about public pensions and collective bargaining.
by | July 21, 2011
 

Collective bargaining does not correlate as strongly with pension benefit levels as one might expect. At least that's according to a new study from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) entitled Unions and Public Pension Benefits. It's a must-read for anyone engaged in public pension debates. Researchers from Boston College, who've done other fine work in the past, looked at the impact of unionization on employee benefits.

Five variables were studied, and unionization was the one found to be least significant statistically. That's not what most observers and commentators in this community would have expected. Researchers found more correlation with salary levels.

To their credit, Beth Kellar's group at SLGE and their researchers have done some notable and informative work in the field. One does not need to agree with every finding to have immense respect for their research and efforts to illuminate the public policy debates.

As the report has just been released, I haven't had time to carefully study the whole thing, but I wanted readers to be aware of its availability. It's not light summer reading, but it's worthy of your time.

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