Economics Professor Publishes Paper on Effects of Right-to-Work Laws

Ozkan ErenOzkan Eren

May 5, 2015

BATON ROUGE – What impact do right-to-work laws – laws which guarantee no person can be compelled as a condition of employment to join, not join or pay dues to a labor union – have on state-level labor market outcomes?

It’s a topic that has long been debated without reaching a clear consensus and it’s the focus of a new paper co-authored by LSU Economics Assistant Professor Ozkan Eren that will appear in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. The paper is titled “What Do Right-to-Work Laws Do? Evidence From a Synthetic Control Method Analysis.”

Eren and his co-author Serkan Ozbeklik, an associate professor at Claremont McKenna College in California, looked to Oklahoma and its passage of a right-to-work amendment to the state constitution in 2001. The outcome they found was a significant decrease in private sector unionization rates. Several other outcomes within the state, however – including total employment rate and private sector average wages – were not affected by right-to-work laws, at least in the short run.

“Opponents assert that right-to-work laws lead to lower wages, lower safety and health standards that protect workers on the job, and cause them to receive union representation without incurring the cost,” Eren said. “Advocates contend that these laws create jobs, lead to higher wages, improve union accountability and are morally right because they do not compel individuals to support a cause in which they do not believe.”

The Department of Economics at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business offers courses that provide its undergraduate and graduate students an intellectual challenge and strong analytic training and the tools to understand the economic and social problems faced both domestically and internationally. The faculty’s dedication to quality teaching and research is reflected by numerous awards received and peer-reviewed scholarly articles published in high-quality economic journals. The Journal of Labor Research and the Journal of Macroeconomics, two highly regarded academic journals, are edited within the department. For more information, visit our home page or call 225-578-5211.

“Like” us on Facebook (LSUOursoCollege) or follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@lsuoursocollege).​