How Labor Unions Increase Political Knowledge: Evidence from the United States

  title={How Labor Unions Increase Political Knowledge: Evidence from the United States},
  author={David Macdonald},
  journal={Political Behavior},
  • D. Macdonald
  • Published 29 April 2019
  • Sociology
  • Political Behavior
Labor unions have long been important political actors, mobilizing voters, shaping their members’ attitudes, and influencing representation and economic inequality. However, little is known regarding unions’ influence on political knowledge. In this paper, I argue that unions increase their members’ political knowledge through two mechanisms: direct information provision and workplace discussion of politics. I use data from recent national election surveys and a matching technique, showing that… 
Why Public Sector Union Members Support Their Unions: Survey and Experimental Evidence
Despite their decline, unions, and especially public sector unions, remain important civic and economic associations. Yet, we lack an understanding of why public sector union members voluntarily
Labor Unions and White Democratic Partisanship
The Democratic Party’s declining support among white voters is a defining feature of contemporary American politics. Extant research has emphasized factors such as elite polarization and demographic
Labor Unions and White Racial Politics
Scholars and political observers point to declining labor unions, on the one hand, and rising white identity politics, on the other, as profound changes in American politics. However, there has been
Reducing Unequal Representation: The Impact of Labor Unions on Legislative Responsiveness in the U.S. Congress
It has long been recognized that economic inequality may undermine the principle of equal responsiveness that lies at the core of democratic governance. A recent wave of scholarship has highlighted
Heterogeneity of the Trade Union Membership Effect on Support for Redistribution in Western Europe
Many analyses of cross-national survey data find that union members are more likely to be supportive of redistributive policies than respondents who are not union members. Analyzing British, German,
How the Workplace Affects Employee Political Contributions
How important is the workplace for employees’ political donations? Contrary to research on workplace political mobilization, existing work assumes that most individual donors contribute
Labor Unions and Voter Turnout in the American States: Direct Versus Indirect Mobilization
  • Gidong Kim
  • Economics
    State Politics & Policy Quarterly
  • 2022
Abstract I examine the relationship between labor unions and voter turnout in the American states. Though it is well known that unions increase turnout directly, we know less about their indirect
State Union Density Effects on Workers’ Support for Reducing Income Inequality, 1973-2016
Research often borrows on common yet somewhat unsubstantiated beliefs that unions influence inequality attitudes among unionized and nonunionized workers. This paper draws on inequality attitude data
Schooled by Strikes? The Effects of Large-Scale Labor Unrest on Mass Attitudes toward the Labor Movement
Strikes are a central tool of organized labor, yet existing research has focused on the economic consequences of strikes, rather than their political effects. We examine how labor actions by


Labor Union Strength and the Equality of Political Representation
Amid growing evidence of ‘unequal democracy’ in the United States, labor unions can play a potentially important role by ensuring that low-income citizens’ opinions receive more equal consideration
Informed Preferences? The Impact of Unions on Workers' Policy Views
Despite declining memberships, labor unions still represent large shares of electorates worldwide. Yet their political clout remains contested. To what extent, and in what way, do unions shape
Union Membership and Political Participation in the United States
This article examines the effect of union membership on civic and political participation in the late 20th century in the United States. We discuss why and how unions seek to mobilize their members
Labor Unions, Political Representation, and Economic Inequality
Decades of research across several disciplines have produced substantial evidence that labor unions, on balance, reduce economic disparities. But unions are complicated, multifaceted organizations
Union Experience and Worker Policy
Unions influence the U.S. political process in numerous ways. Although scholarship has examined labor’s effects on political office-holding, less research is available on the relationship between
Local Union Organization and Law Making in the US Congress
The political power of labor unions is a contentious issue in the social sciences. Departing from the dominant focus on membership size, we argue that unions’ influence on national law making is
When Government Subsidizes Its Own: Collective Bargaining Laws as Agents of Political Mobilization
Government policies can activate a political constituency not only by providing material resources to, or altering the interpretive experiences of, individual citizens, but also by directly
Labor Unions and the Mobilization of Latino Voters
Despite large population gains, political observers commonly refer to Latinos as a “sleeping giant” because of low voter turnout. Conversely, steady declines in union membership have led some to
Labor Organization and Electoral Participation in Industrial Democracies
The literature on the determinants of electoral participation has paid little attention to the role of labor organization. Adopting the familiar heuristic of costs and benefits, we argue that