Labor Unions, Debt, and Financial Inclusion in Young Adulthood

Labor unions reduce labor market inequality by increasing wages, compressing the wage distribution, stabilizing working hours, and offering more comprehensive and generous benefits. Less is known about whether and how unions influence workers’ financial security beyond the labor market, as reflected in wealth and debt. Using data from a cohort of young workers who came of age during a historical period of high inequality and insecurity, low unionization, and the deregulation of consumer credit markets, Rachel Dwyer and I are investigating how union coverage influences the types of debts held by workers around age 30.