For 80 years, unions have reduced income inequality. Great work from a stellar team of Princeton economists.


This is the historic relationship that motivates the study: as union density has dropped, inequality has risen
Within year, there is a well-established (negative) relationship between unions and inequality. The authors use new data to show this holds going back to the 1930s.
The historic data the authors have exploited is from Gallup polls that go back to 1930s. For recent decades, where Gallup & CPS overlap, they agree.
Union households earn about 20% more than non-union hholds
1949: 75% of union workers get any vacation, compared to 52% of non-union
Union premium is highest for those with the least education
Context of this paper in econ lit on inequality: ongoing argument over relative importance of institutions (unions, govt) vs markets (increasing return to skill)
Microdata for education goes back to 1940s while for union membership only to 1970s (until this paper)

Authors argue econs have been looking under lamp post for keys
The awesome @ikuziemko is an author on this important paper. Follow her!

Kudos to the brave, tireless organizers who created the unions that empower workers to gain these benefits.

Unions are where I started my professional life. They are an engine of economic mobility, just as education can be.

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