Labor Unions and Political Polarization within Firms
Posted: 23 Sep 2022
Date Written: September 7, 2022
Labor organizations mobilize employees for political purposes. In this study, we examine how labor unions stimulate political polarization within firms. We combine datasets on employee-level political contributions and union elections in the United States. In a regression discontinuity design, we find unionization increases employees’ political contributions to democratic candidates, intensifying the polarization among American firms previously perceived to support the republican party. The union-induced polarization impedes a firm’s productivity, talent retention, and innovation activities. We thus provide a novel channel for the negative impact of unions on innovation (Bradley and Tian, 2017).
Keywords: unions, political contributions, innovation, polarization
JEL Classification: J51, O31, D72
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