IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

What Do Unions Do ... to Voting?

  • Richard B. Freeman

This paper uses data from four different data sets to examine the union impact on the turnout of members and their support for union-preferred candidates. It rejects the claim that the union share of the electorate rose massively in the 1990s. It finds that union members are about 12 percentage points more likely to vote than non-union members and nonunion persons in union households are modestly more likely to vote than persons in nonunion households, but shows that most of the higher rate of turnout of unionists is due to socioeconomic factors that differentiate union members from others. With respect to voting preferences, union members are more likely to vote for a Democrat for the House or Presidency than demographically comparable nonunion voters, largely because union members have attitudes and voting inclinations favorable to the Democrats and to liberalism prior to a given campaign. Finally, the study identifies a sizable group of nonunion persons with pro-union attitudes that unions could potentially influence to maintain the union impact on elections even with declines in union density.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9992.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9992
Note: AP
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Benjamin Radcliff, 2001. "Organized Labor and Electoral Participation in American National Elections," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 405-414, April.
  2. Marick F. Masters & John T. Delaney, 1987. "Union political activities: A review of the empirical literature," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(3), pages 336-353, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9992. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.