Union membership has its perks: higher wages, better healthcare, more job security. Now, a new study from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, adds another benefit to that list: richer children, once they’re all grown up.
According to the study, people between the ages of 26 and 37 who are working full time and whose parents did not go to college and were not in a union earn an average of $39,000 today. But a very similar group of people—everything the same except that they had one parent who was in a union—those people are earning $46,000. (The difference all but disappears when comparing people who had a parent who was a college graduate.)
Is this just because union households earned more, and thus were able to provide their kids with better educations, resources, and so on?
That doesn’t seem to be the case. The authors—Richard Freeman of Harvard, Eunice Han of Wellesley, and David Madland and Brendan V. Duke of CAP—tease this out by comparing people whose fathers were in unions with those whose fathers weren’t, while holding other demographic factors such as education, age, race, and occupation constant. They find that “having a father in a union is an 18.7 percent increase in a child’s earnings, an effect that is significant at the 1 percent level.”