Symposium Fifty Years of Right to Work: Retrospect and Prospect

Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 445-469

First online:

The determinants and effects of right-to-work laws: A review of the recent literature

  • William J. MooreAffiliated withLouisiana State University

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I review the recent literature on the determinants and effects of right-to-work (RTW) laws. The focus is primarily on the econometric studies published since the early 1980s. Five major areas of impact are assessed: unionization, free riding, union organizing activities and successes in NLRB elections, wage structure, and state industrial development. While individual findings are quite sensitive to model specification, the accumulated evidence indicates that RTW laws have at least a significant short-run impact on all of these areas except perhaps wages.