Organized labor and debt contracting: Firm-level evidence from collective bargaining

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23 Scopus citations


This paper employs a firm-level collective bargaining dataset to investigate the effect of labor, as an important stakeholder of a firm, on debt contracting. I conjecture and provide evidence that firms with strong organized labor prefer bank loans to public bonds because, by communicating with banks privately, unionized firms can reduce the adverse selection costs while preserving the information asymmetry with organized labor. Furthermore, I show that organized labor influences the structure of syndicated loans. When firms with strong unions withhold public disclosures, but communicate privately with lead lenders, heightened information asymmetry between the lead lenders and the participant lenders induces the lead lenders to retain larger shares of the loans and form more concentrated syndicates. Overall, this study demonstrates that the proprietary costs of disclosure related to organized labor significantly influence firms' debt contracting decisions and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-85
Number of pages29
JournalAccounting Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Collective bargaining
  • Debt contracts
  • Information asymmetry
  • Labor unions
  • Private debt
  • Proprietary costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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