, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 713-730

How right-to-work laws affect wages

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Abstract

I examine the wage effects of Right-To-Work (RTW). Using state-level data, I estimate that, ceteris paribus, RTW states have average wages that are significantly higher than non-RTW states. This result is robust is across a wide variety of specifications. An important distinctive of this study is that it controls for state economic conditions at the time states adopted RTW. States that adopted RTW were generally poorer than other states. Failure to control for these initial conditions may be the reason that previous studies have not identified a positive wage impact for RTW.

I thank Kevin Grier for valuable comments and Lawrence Mishel of the Economie Policy Institute for constructive criticisms on an earlier version of this research.