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

  • David MacdonaldEmail author
Original Paper


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 union members, particularly those with less formal education, who face higher costs in seeking out political information, are significantly more politically knowledgeable than their non-union counterparts and better informed about where political parties and candidates stand on the issues. I conclude by discussing unions’ capacity to reduce knowledge gaps and foster a more politically informed electorate.


Labor unions Political knowledge Information Knowledge gaps 


Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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