Internationally Respected Economist: “Right-to-Work” Wrong for Wisconsin

Mar 02, 2015

Marquette University professor releases report, RTW provides “No economic advantage to Wisconsin”

(MADISON, WI) – A recently released study shows that Right to Work (RTW) is “shortsighted and a superficial selling point” according to Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, professor of economics at Marquette University.

Dr. Chowdhury is the former chair of the economics department at Marquette, served as chief economist for the United Nations Economic Commission in Europe for five years and was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Academic Advisory Council. Dr. Chowdhury specializes in the areas of U.S. macro-economy, international finance and global economic issues.

“Our findings show that Right to Work places downward pressure on wages and erodes the quality of a state’s labor force by encouraging the best and brightest to migrate to states where wages are higher,” says Dr. Chowdhury. “RTW laws reduce wages and cause income and spending to decline. This in turn means lower income, less income tax revenue, and less spending which translates into lower sales tax receipts.”

The study, entitled “The Potential Effects of Right to Work Law in Wisconsin“, was released January 25, 2015. The study illustrates the direct and indirect impact of Right to Work on income in Wisconsin, loss of Wisconsin income tax revenue if implemented and why a Right to Work law would be detrimental to Wisconsin’s economy.

Some key findings of the study include:

  • The net loss in direct and indirect income to Wisconsin workers and their families would vary from $5.84 to $7.23 billion annually.
  • The economic loss in Wisconsin income taxes is estimated between $234 and $289 million per year.
  • Unionization rates in RTW states are less than half of what they are in Collective Bargaining (CB) states.
  • Wages are lower in RTW states than CB states.
  • RTW increases gender and racial wage inequality.
  • RTW increases workplace fatalities.

“Simply stated, RTW legislation would provide no discernible overall economic advantage to Wisconsin,” added Dr. Chowdhury. “But it does impose significant social costs.”

Steve Lyons, spokesperson for the, Wisconsin Contractor Coalition (WCC), stated, “Dr. Chowdhury’s report is very consistent with numerous studies done throughout the country. That is why hundreds of Wisconsin private businesses such as those in the WCC are so concerned about the negative impact of RTW legislation.”

Source (PDF): Internationally Respected Economist: “Right-to-Work” Wrong for Wisconsin



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