Do Right-to-Work Laws Work? Evidence from Individual Well-Being and Economic Sentiment

53 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2018 Last revised: 20 Nov 2018

See all articles by Christos Makridis

Christos Makridis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; Government of the United States of America - Council of Economic Advisors

Date Written: June 5, 2018

Abstract

Over a majority of states have adopted right-to-work (RTW) laws. Using licensed micro-data from Gallup between 2008-2017, the adoption of RTW laws is associated with a 0.029sd and 0.054sd increase in individual life satisfaction and economic sentiment, respectively. Using differences-in-differences, these effects are concentrated among union workers. Results are robust to alternative identification strategies, such as a cross-sectional approach using re-weighting for potential confounding effects and a border-pair analysis that compares individuals on opposite sides of a state border. The primary mechanism behind improvements in well-being is increased competition among unions to provide higher quality services.

Keywords: right-to-work, sentiment, union, well-being, welfare

JEL Classification: I31, J31, J38, J50

Suggested Citation

Makridis, Christos, Do Right-to-Work Laws Work? Evidence from Individual Well-Being and Economic Sentiment (June 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095068 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3095068

Christos Makridis (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02142
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Government of the United States of America - Council of Economic Advisors ( email )

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