New York Times
September 9th, 2015
It is well established that unions provide benefits to workers — that
they raise wages for their members (and even for nonmembers). They can
help reduce inequality.
A new study suggests that unions may also help children move up the economic ladder.
Researchers at Harvard, Wellesley and the Center for American Progress,
a liberal think tank, released a paper Wednesday showing that children
born to low-income families typically ascend to higher incomes in
metropolitan areas where union membership is higher.
The size of the effect is small, but there aren’t many other factors
that are as strongly correlated with mobility. Raj Chetty of Stanford,
Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard, and Patrick Kline and Emmanuel Saez of the
University of California, Berkeley, who pioneered this method of
examining economic mobility, established five factors that are strongly
correlated with a low-income child’s likelihood of making it into the
middle class: the rate of single motherhood in an area, the degree of
inequality, the high school dropout rate, the degree of residential
segregation, and the amount of social capital, as measured by indicators
like voter turnout and participation in community organizations.