Unions and Shared Prosperity, 1918-2010

The story of the last century in one graph. This is the graph we used as the basis for the Economic Policy Institute Snapshot, As unions decline, inequality rises; and the EPI “Working Economics” post  Union decline and rising inequality in two charts.

Data on union density follows the composite series found in Historical Statistics of the United States; updated to current year from unionstats.com. Income inequality (share of income to top 10%) is drawn from Piketty and Saez, “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 2003, 1-39. Updated and downloadable data, for this series and other countries, is available at the Top Income Database. Updated September 2011.

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