Now, that's more like it! It's not about having 'dueling links,' it's about having supporting evidence and argumentation for one's position. It's just more interesting than endless assertion.
Let's take a look at your criticisms of the Hofstra paper:
The first reference from Prefessor Stevens of Hoffstra University was the most interesting. He performed a multivariate statistical analysis, based on variables he selected, (I would choose them differently) to assess the estimated differences between wage and benefit and employment rates in Right to Work States and others, finding that, in view of the clearly more favorable business climates (his statement) in RTW states the measured benefits of these laws, where they occurred, are not due to the RTW laws themselves, but rather to the business climate prevailing in these states. I found that very remarkable in that it was a sweeping indictment of the results of his own analysis which did indeed, as you noted, find some benefits associated with RTW laws. He also used other factors outside the domain of his analysis, including the net greater population movements into RTW states and relative education levels to further discount the measured benefits. Remarkable contradictions both in that he fails to address just what might be behind the net immigration and how average educational levels might affest competition for jobs might affest his calculated results. This in an academic paper promising rigorous accuracy, but these folks are like that and they often have an agenda too.
I guess I would start by saying that the fact that the guy looked at a variety of different factors surrounding RTW states and came to a different conclusion than you did doesn't necessarily mean his paper isn't accurate, or is driven by an agenda. I'll note that the factual points the study finds -
- average employment rates are higher in right-to-work versus non-right-towork states,
- average per capita income is lower in right-to-work relative to non-rightto-
- there is no significant difference in average wages/salaries between rightto-
work and non-right-to-work states,
- average proprietors’ income is higher in right-to-work relative to non-rightto-work states,
- there is no significant difference in average real state GDP growth rates
between right-to-work and non-right-to-work states -
- Are not challenged by you. The last point especially disproves claims you had made to the contrary.
The important variables in that study - which I believe correlate well with real-world experience - are the level of farm vs. non-farm workers and the average educational levels involved. I don't believe there's any evidence that immigration to RTW states has increased DUE to the RTW status; while UE is slightly lower in those states, it's not significantly lower. What's far more likely is that immigration has increased due to: 1, the heavy concentration of RTW states in the South, which have seen the bulk of both legal and illegal immigration in the last three decades; 2, the relatively low cost of living in those states (which I will get to in a second), and 3, growing numbers of retirees who move from the north to the south simply for the fact that it's much warmer in that part of the country.
When there are equally compelling arguments showing probable reasons behind increases in immigration to states that don't match up with your preferred hypothesis, it's usually a good sign that the case you are making isn't exactly rock-solid.
In terms of educational levels, the author of that study does make a good point that states with lower levels of education will undoubtedly employ less skilled workers and pay lower wages. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "... how average educational levels might affest competition for jobs might affest his calculated results."
The truth is that, in terms of educational attainment (measured by completion of the smallest possible degree past high school), the bottom 10 states are ALL right-to-work states. In fact, only three of the states that currently have RTW laws are outside of the bottom 25 states - Virginia, Utah and Kansas. This isn't an advertisement for these states - it's a bad thing for these states. However, from a businessman's point of view, it does mean that there are much larger pools of unskilled labor, which can be had for a lower wage. You seem to see this as an advantage for the states, but it isn't. It's only an advantage for those who are looking to find a way to increase their profits.
And indeed, the author of that study did find that while salaries and wages were lower for workers in RTW states, profits for owners were higher. You can see why I would say in my original post that, from a businessman's point of view, RTW states make sense, but it's not a positive thing for those working there.
Re: cost of living, the prime driver of cost-of-living in areas is desirability. New York City and the Bay Area don't have such high property values and cost-of-living due to the factors surrounding their business laws or development, but instead because so many people desire to live there due to environmental and social reasons. Cost of living in RTW states is much lower primarily because they are located in Southern areas that have little environmental or social reasons to live there; they are hot as hell in the Summer, cold in the Winter, and there's very little of social or cultural significance going on - these states tend to be heavily rural and lack large population centers, which give rise to such things.
This low cost of living, along with the warmer climates, tend to be attractive to retiring seniors; this inflates the immigration statistics for these states considerably. Their geographic location and low cost of living, along with heavy emphasis on rural commerce, provide a natural home for many immigrants to this country as well. None of this has anything to do with RTW at all, and therefore, I can't find your criticisms of the above piece to be trenchant.
One factor that we haven't discussed much is how these states - who are almost exclusively ran by Republicans - use a variety of incentives and sweeteners to attract business.
The truth is that the 'pro-business' Republican party is more than happy to hand out tax exemptions, tax breaks, and even financing packages to help companies expand into their states. These essentially represent a taxpayer subsidy of business, and yes, it's concentrated mostly in RTW states. Why would Toyota open a plant in CA, when - irrespective of their labor costs - there's a city in Mississippi that is willing to grant them hundreds of millions of dollars in tax exemptions for doing so?
RTW is simply one factor amongst many that determine whether or not companies start or locate their businesses there. It's foolish to claim that a state moving to RTW will automatically lead to an influx of new business or investment; there simply is no evidence showing that this is true at all. And while RTW laws may benefit owners of companies, there is no evidence that they benefit those who work for those companies, who will indeed be facing a life of lower wages, lower benefits, and less job protection than those in states without RTW laws - even if you're not working in a union environment in those states.
I'll address the substance of the links you posted here in a little while. But, isn't this more interesting than simply repeating the same tropes at one another ad infinitum?