Publication Date

December 2004


To inform the ongoing debate over graduate student unionization, the author tests for the presence of union-related premiums among teaching and research assistant stipends using data from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s survey of departments in six fields in 2000, 2001, and 2003. Ordinary least squares and instrumental variables methods reveal union and union threat premiums among teaching assistant stipends. There is little evidence of union-related premiums among research assistant stipends. Specifications controlling for union composition or using employment weights reveal that the teaching assistant only union premium is positive for teaching assistant stipends and negative for research assistant stipends. This suggests that collectively bargained contracts may yield benefits for teaching assistants at the expense of research assistants when the latter are excluded from the bargaining unit. There is a positive premium to joint teaching and research assistant unions for teaching assistant stipends and no effect for research assistant stipends.


Suggested Citation
Liu, A. Y. (2005). Union and union threat premiums among graduate student stipends (CHERI Working Paper #84). Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
Published by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Cornell University.