The Impact of Right-to-Work Laws on Union Organizing

40 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2001 Last revised: 4 Apr 2022

See all articles by David T. Ellwood

David T. Ellwood

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Glenn A. Fine

Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Gove

Date Written: May 1983

Abstract

In contrast to previous studies which have examined the impact of Right-to-Work (RTW) laws on the level or stock of union membership, this paper examines their impact on the most updated flow into membership and the organizing of workers through certified elections. Since detailed annual data are available by state, we are able to estimate an accelerator model of the flow into unionism, and adjust for possible omitted variable and simultaneity bias. The results show dramatic falls in organizing immediately after the passage of a RTW law, with more moderate declines in later years, just as an accelerator model could predict. Overall, the results are consistent with a 5-10 percent reduction in unionism as a result of the passage of RTW laws.

Suggested Citation

Ellwood, David T. and Fine, Glenn A., The Impact of Right-to-Work Laws on Union Organizing (May 1983). NBER Working Paper No. w1116, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227121

David T. Ellwood (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Glenn A. Fine

Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Gove

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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