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
Date Written: June 5, 2018
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: Suggested Citation