NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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

David T. Ellwood, Glenn A. Fine

NBER Working Paper No. 1116
Issued in May 1983
NBER Program(s):   LS

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1116

Published: Ellwood, David T. and Glenn A. Fine. "The Impact of Right-to-Work Laws on Union Organizing." Journal of Political Economy, April 1987.

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