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

57 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2018 Last revised: 24 Jun 2019

See all articles by Christos Makridis

Christos Makridis

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

Date Written: May 15, 2019

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of state right-to-work (RTW) laws on dimensions of individual well-being. Using licensed micro-data from Gallup between 2008-2017, this paper finds that the adoption of RTW laws is associated with a 0.029sd and 0.041sd increase in individual life satisfaction and economic sentiment, respectively. A difference-in-difference estimator suggests that these improvements are concentrated among union workers. These results are also robust to entropy balancing and border-pair approaches. Moreover, these improvements in well-being are consistent with an increase in competition among unions, which prompts them to provide higher quality services that are valued by their members.

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 (May 15, 2019). 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 )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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