Document Type


Session Format

Oral presentation only (in-person)


Arts and Sciences 2-75

Publication Date


Faculty Advisor

Min Kim

Start Date

27-3-2024 1:00 PM

End Date

27-3-2024 2:00 PM


The aftermath of the 2008 economic crash prompted state leaders to explore various tools for economic recovery. In this context, a policy commonly referred to as "Right-to-Work" (RTW) gained prominence as a potential solution. The implementation of RTW sparked notable and impassioned protests, marking a significant chapter in the affected states' history. The genesis of RTW traces back to organized labor's authority to mandate membership dues as a condition of employment, leading to the establishment of the "closed shop." To address perceived union overreach, the adoption of the Taft-Hartley Amendments empowered states to enact RTW laws, prohibiting closed shops.

Numerous prior studies have investigated the association between RTW laws and economic and unionization outcomes, yielding three predominant conclusions. These include the assertion that RTW is linked to positive economic effects in RTW areas compared to non-RTW areas, the coupling of RTW laws with diminished unionization variables and subsequently weaker economies, or the observation that RTW is connected to regions already harboring distrust for organized labor, resulting in no significant relationship to outcomes.

This research employs a difference-in-difference analysis, comparing changes in economic and unionization variables between 2012 and 2022 for states maintaining their RTW status. Additionally, a multiple regression is applied to all states in 2022 to assess whether RTW serves as a contributing factor to these variables. The findings indicate a limited relationship between the presence of RTW and the rate of change in economic or unionization variables. Furthermore, RTW is not identified as a significant contributing factor to economic outcomes. Consequently, leaders are advised to explore alternative policies for fostering economic growth in their states or organizations.


The current version attached is not the final product. The final version of the paper will be included in a revision to this post before March 27th, 2024.



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