Study claiming right-to-work in West Virginia will create job growth is fundamentally flawed

Source: Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Will Kimball, Briefing Paper #417, January 14, 2016

From the press release:
A recent paper on so-called right-to-work laws relies on flawed data and analysis, according to research by Economic Policy Institute economists Elise Gould and Josh Bivens and research analyst Will Kimball. Gould, Bivens, and Kimball analyze a recent paper by West Virginia University (WVU) School of Business researchers John Deskins, Eric Bowen, and Christiadi, and find that that the study relies on questionable research methods that skewed the results in favor of right-to-work legislation.
Deskins, Bowen, and Christiadi attempt to analyze the effect of right-to-work laws on employment. However, their paper does not have sufficient variation in right-to-work status within states during the study period to reach conclusive results. The authors misidentify Texas and Utah as having not been right-to-work states when in fact they were, leaving only one state that switched to right to work during their study period. Furthermore, the authors failed to include state fixed effects in their analysis—the industry standard for this type of research—which account for economic shocks or characteristics that are particular to a given state and not controlled for in other variables in the model…..
The Economic Impact of Right to Work Policy in West Virginia
Source: John Deskins, Eric Bowen, and Christiadi, West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, November 2015
(Funding for this research was provided by the West Virginia Legislature)