Publication Date



Using a novel survey of 284 employment arbitrators, this study investigates how decision-maker characteristics and the context of the arbitration proceeding affect employee outcomes. We analyze the predictors of settlement before an arbitrator award and, if no settlement is reached, the likelihood an employee will receive a verdict in their favor after a full hearing. We find pre-arbitration dispute resolution procedures have significant effects on settlement behavior and employee outcomes. The characteristics of the presiding arbitrator as well as the structure of the arbitration proceeding were also found to affect employee outcomes at trial. This study contributes to the existing literature by describing characteristics of employment arbitrators, an underexplored actor in industrial relations, and analyzing case outcomes, including settlements, across multiple arbitration forums and with more rigorous controls than have been available in existing datasets.


Suggested Citation
Gough, M., & Colvin, A. J. S. (2017, November). Decision-maker and context effects in employment arbitration [Electronic version]. Paper presented at Conflict and its Resolution in the Changing World of Work: A Conference and Special Issue Honoring David B. Lipsky, Ithaca, NY. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright held by the authors.