Project Labor Agreements’ Effect on School Construction Costs in Massachusetts

Authors

  • DALE BELMAN,

  • RUSSELL ORMISTON,

  • RICHARD KELSO,

  • WILLIAM SCHRIVER,

  • KENNETH A. FRANK

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       The authors’ affiliations are, respectively, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824; Department of Economics, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691; School of Architecture and Design, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996-2400; Construction Industry Policy and Research Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996-4150; College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824. E-mails: drdale@msu.edu; ormiston@msu.edu; rkelso1@utk.edu; schriver@utk.edu; kenfrank@msu.edu. The authors thank Matthew Bodah, David Weil, Peter Berg, the members of the Construction Economics Research Network, and an anonymous referee for comments on earlier versions of this paper. Data collection was supported by a grant from the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights. The data are available from the corresponding author, Dale Belman.


Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on school construction cost in Massachusetts. Although simple models exhibit a large positive effect of PLAs on construction costs, such effects are absent from more completely specified models. Further investigation finds sufficient dissimilarity in schools built with and without PLAs that it is difficult to distinguish the cost effects of PLAs from the cost effects of factors that underlie the use of PLAs.

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