Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 223–229 | Cite as

Right-to-work laws and union density: New evidence from micro data

  • Joe C. Davis
  • John H. Huston


Although union density is much lower in Right-to-Work (RTW) states than in states permitting union shops, most studies have found that after correcting for omitted-variable and simultaneity biases, RTW laws do not have independent impact on union density. However, these studies typically use data sets which include certain government, agricultural, supervisory and transportation workers who are not subject to RTW legislation thus diluting the effect of RTW laws. When these employees are excluded from the data set, we find that RTW laws do significantly affect union density in the private sector.


Union Member Union Membership Union Density National Labor Relation Southern Economic Journal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amemiya, Takeshi. “Qualitative Response Models.”Journal of Economic Literature 19 (December 1981): 1483–536.Google Scholar
  2. Carroll, Thomas M. “Right-To-Work Laws Do Matter?”Southern Economic Journal 50 (October 1983): 494–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Congressional Quarterly. May 2, 1992, 1203–205.Google Scholar
  4. Davis, Joe, and John Huston. “Right-to-Work Laws and Free Riding.”Economic Inquiry 31 (January 1993): 52–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ellwood, David T., and Glenn Fine. “The Impact of Right-to-Work Laws on Union Organizing.”Journal of Political Economy 95 (April 1987): 250–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Farber, Henry S. “Right-to-Work Laws and the Extent of Unionization.”Journal of Labor Economics 2 (July 1984): 319–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. _____. “The Extent of Unionization in the United States.” InChallenges Facing American Labor. Edited by Thomas A. Kochan. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  8. Heckman, James J. “Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System.”Econometrica 46 (July 1978): 931–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hirsch, Barry T. “The Determinants of Unionization: An Analysis of Interarea Differences.”Industrial and Labor Relations Review 33 (January 1980): 147–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ichniowski, Casey, and Jeffrey Zax. “Right-to-Work Laws, Free Riders, and Unionization in the Local Public Sector.”Journal of Labor Economics 9 (July 1991): 255–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kennedy, Peter.A Guide to Econometrics. 2nd ed. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  12. Koeller, Charles T. “Wages, Trade Union Activity, and the Political Environment of Unionism: A Simultaneous Equation Model.”Journal of Labor Research 6 (Spring 1985): 147–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Moore, William J., and Robert J. Newman. “The Effects of Right-to-Work Laws: A Review of the Literature.”Industrial and Labor Relations Review 38 (July 1985): 571–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Moore, William J., James A. Dunlevy, and Robert J. Newman. “Do Right to Work Laws Matter? Comment.”Southern Economic Journal 52 (October 1986): 515–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. National Labor Relations Board.Fifty-Third Annual Report of the National Labor Relations Board for the Fiscal Year Ended September, 1988. Washington D.C.: NLRB, 1990.Google Scholar
  16. Nieswiadomy, Michael, Daniel J. Slottje, and Kathy Hayes. “The Impact of Unionization, Right-to-Work Laws, and Female Labor Force Participation on Earnings Inequality Across States.”Journal of Labor Research 12 (Spring 1991): 185–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. U.S. Bureau of the Census.County Business Patterns, 1985. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1987.Google Scholar
  18. U.S. Bureau of the Census.Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1991. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991.Google Scholar
  19. Warren, Ronald S., and Robert P. Strauss. “A Mixed Logit Model of the Relationship between Unionization and Right-To-Work Legislation.”Journal of Political Economy 87 (June 1979): 648–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Waters, Melissa, R. Carter Hill, William J. Moore, and Robert J. Newman. “A Simultaneous Equations Model of the Relationship Between Public Sector Bargaining Legislation and Unionization.” Mimeo.Google Scholar
  21. Wessels, Walter J. “Economic Effects of Right-To-Work Laws.”Journal of Labor Research 2 (Spring 1981): 55–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Journal of Labor Research 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joe C. Davis
    • 1
  • John H. Huston
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity UniversitySan Antonio

Personalised recommendations