Local Union Organization and Law making in the U.S. Congress

Becher, Michael, Käppner, Konstantin and Stegmueller, Daniel (2018) Local Union Organization and Law making in the U.S. Congress. Journal of Politics, 80 (2). pp. 539-554.

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Official URL: http://iast.fr/pub/31776


The political power of labor unions is a contentious issue in the social sciences. Departing from the dominant focus on membership size, we argue that unions' influence on national lawmaking is based to an important degree on their local organization. We delineate the novel hypothesis that the horizontal concentration of union members within electoral districts matters. To test it, we draw on administrative records and map the membership size and concentration of local unions to districts of the U.S. House of Representatives, 2003-2012. We find that, controlling for membership size, representatives from districts with less concentrated unions have more liberal voting records than their peers. This concentration effect survives numerous district controls and relaxing OLS assumptions. While surprising for several theoretical perspectives, it is consistent with theories based on social incentives. These results have implications for our broader understanding of political representation and the role of groups in democratic politics.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: April 2018
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 07:48
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2019 12:09
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:31776
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/32219

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