WVU "Right to Work" Study Flawed

For Immediate Release

Contact Ted Boettner at 304-720-8682

(Charleston, WV) West Virginia legislators debating on whether or not to make West Virginia the next so-called "Right to Work" (RTW) state are relying on a flawed report from West Virginia University. Read PDF of news release.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in a report released today, a study from Deskins, Bowen, and Christiadi (2015) associated with the West Virginia University School of Business and Economic Research is fundamentally flawed. In fact, EPI found that the WVU study makes claims that are "just not supported by the data."

"This study confirms what most credible studies find about the effects of Right-to-Work laws - they are not likely to boost economic growth," stated Ted Boettner, Executive Director with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. "Because of the fundamental errors found in the WVU study, West Virginia's policymakers should not rely on its findings when considering the adoption of a Right-to-Work law."

The EPI report cites several problems with the methodology used to compile the WVU study. EPI's report explains how the WVU researchers used non-standard forms of analysis and mislabeled states like Utah and Texas as switching from non-RTW to RTW. Both of these issues call the report's main conclusion into question: that West Virginia can create jobs and boost its economy if it passes Right-to-Work legislation.

A report released last summer by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy reached similar conclusions as today's EPI report. The WVCBP report concluded that rigorous analyses show RTW laws have no significant impact on state economic growth but do lead to lower wages, less benefits, and a decrease in unionization.

The report also found that the more scholars are able to "hold everything equal" when studying RTW laws, something the WVU analysis failed to do adequately, and control for numerous factors, the less likelihood that RTW has a positive impact on a state's job growth.


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