Right-to-work laws help boost state economy, study suggests

Thousands flooded the Capitol lawn in December while legislators debated the right-to-work legislation.

A study released shows right-to-work states produce greater economic growth than their counterparts.

The study was conducted by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a non-partisan research institute that focuses on state and local issues.

The survey looked at data from 1947 to 2011 and uses three factors; total employment, inflation-adjusted real personal income and changes in population.

The survey showed that on average right-to-work states saw a growth of personal income by 0.8% and a population growth by 0.5%.

The study also found from 2000 to 2009, 4.9 million people chose to move to right-to-work states from non-right-to-work states.

"They're voting with their feet and they're voting from greater economic opportunity which right-to-work laws bring," said Michael LaFaive, co-author and director of the Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative.

LaFaive and his co-author said the results from this study may seem modest, but the increasing effect of right-to-work laws appears to have dramatically boosted the standard of living in states that have adopted them.

"These results suggest that right-to-work laws have a positive and sometimes very positive impact on the well-being of states and their residents," the authors said.

Right-to-work laws get rid of the requirement for non-union employees to pay union dues for negotiating contracts and other services. Much of the south has passed right-to-work legislation. Michigan passed the legislation in December.

LaFaive said that while states like Michigan and Indiana are the most recent to adopt these policies, the impact won't be fully known for about 10 years. The study is based on states that have had the policies for at least 10 years.

To read the study in it's entirety, click here.