Right-to-Work Laws Work

New study shows economic advantages

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy released a new right-to-work study titled, "Economic Growth and Right-to-Work Laws" in which these authors find that states with right-to-work laws do better economically — sometimes much better — than they otherwise would have.

A right-to-work law prohibits workers from being forced to financially support a union.

Specifically, we found that from 1947 through 2011 right-to-work laws increased average real personal income growth by 0.8 percentage points. In other words, if a state would have otherwise had a 2 percentage point growth rate, the presence of a right-to-work law raised that rate to 2.8 percent, a 40 percent leap in the average growth rate of personal income.

Likewise, right-to-work laws also boosted average annual employment growth by 0.8 percentage points between1970 and 2011. Data in this category was not available going back to 1947. From 1947 through 2011, right-to-work laws increased average annual population growth by 0.5 percentage points.

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A fuller explanation of our findings can be located on the Mackinac Center’s website and in a table summary on page 7 of the study.

We are not the only scholars to tackle the question as to whether right-to-work laws have an impact on the economic well-being of states and their citizens. Indeed, the subject is a frequently researched one, and we highlight several of the most important studies throughout our own work.

Our conclusion is that right-to-work laws can have a positive — sometimes a very positive — impact on the economic well-being of people and their citizens.


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