The Effects of "Right-to-Work" Laws: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis

Open Access
Anderson, Craig Alan
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David Lynn Lowery, Thesis Supervisor
  • Gretchen Casper, Honors Advisor
  • Labor
  • Unions
  • Right-to-Work
  • RTW
  • Oklahoma
This paper begins with a theoretical discussion and literature review of “right-to-work” (RTW) laws’ effects, including arguments made for and against them. The analysis section of this paper uses Oklahoma’s 2001 RTW law as a case study, with neighboring non-RTW states Colorado, Missouri, and New Mexico also analyzed for comparison. An interrupted time-series analysis is performed to determine if the RTW law affects three dependent variables: unemployment, median household income, and workplace illness and injury rates. This paper adopts the hypotheses of RTW opponents: unemployment will be unaffected by the law, income will decrease relative to union-shop states, and occupational illness and injury rates will increase relative to other states. The results tentatively support this paper's hypothesis regarding unemployment, but not for median household income or occupational illness and injury, which had very mixed results.