The Cato Journal

The Cato Journal is a leading free-market public policy journal. The Cato Journal features articles discussing politics and the economy of interest to scholars and professionals but accessible to a general audience as well.

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 1, Winter

Editor's Note
This special issue of the Cato Journal was made possible by a generous grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. The question posed in this issue--Are Unions Good for America? has both normative and positive aspects. Normatively, if one takes freedom...
Prevailing Wage Laws: Public Interest or Special Interest Legislation?
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes...
Public Sector Unions and the Rising Costs of Employee Compensation
Public sector compensation is becoming a high-profile policy issue. While private sector wages and benefits have stagnated during the recession, many governments continue to increase compensation for public sector workers. At the same time, there are...
Right-to-Work Laws: Liberty, Prosperity, and Quality of Life
The most essential ingredient embodied in the liberty championed by the classical liberal writers of the Enlightenment and beyond is individual choice and right of expression--the right of persons to say what they think, decide for themselves what...
The Effects of Teachers Unions on American Education
Public school employee unions are politically partisan and polarizing institutions. Of the National Education Association's $30 million in federal campaign contributions since 1990, 93 percent has gone to Democrats or the Democratic Party. Of the $9.6...
Toward a Free-Market Union Law
F. A. Hayek and W. H. Hutt wrote extensively about the malign economic and social effects of the special privileges and immunities granted by governments to labor unions, but they wrote much less about what a free-market unionism might look like. They...
Unions and Discrimination
The claim that organized labor has been a force for racial egalitarianism can only be called a myth. It is one of the many myths that pro-union historians have perpetuated--similar to those, for example, that unorganized workers suffered from an "inequality...
Unions and the Decline of U.S. Cities
The usual suspects in the tragic demise of many of America's core cities are well known. For decades, scholars, politicians, and pundits have condemned the racism that led whites to flee diverse urban populations after World War II, sneered at Americans'...
Unions, Economic Freedom, and Growth
The freedom to enter into contracts and to direct the use of economic resources one owns are essential to the operation of a market economy. Allowing employees to form unions to bargain collectively over wages and employment conditions is consistent...
Unions, Protectionism, and U.S. Competitiveness
In the past three decades, labor union leaders have emerged as among the chief critics of trade liberalization, while the economic evidence has grown that labor unions compromise the ability of American companies to compete in global markets. Organized...
Unions, the High-Wage Doctrine, and Employment
In the more than 200 years in which formal organizations of workers (labor unions) have existed in the United States, there have been three distinct eras of policy toward them. Initially, in the late 18th and early 19th century, they were regarded...
Unions, the Rule of Law, and Political Rent Seeking
Under the Obama administration, the influence and involvement of trade unions in government policy decisions has surged to unprecedented levels. Some of the more egregious examples include the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which abolishes the...
Why Project Labor Agreements Are Not in the Public Interest
Project labor agreements (PLAs) are agreements between owners of construction projects and construction unions, under which firms retained to work on a construction project must enter into collective bargaining with the unions, hire workers through...

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