Research Handbook on the Economics of Labor and Employment Law
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Research Handbook on the Economics of Labor and Employment Law

Edited by Cynthia L. Estlund and Michael L. Wachter

This Research Handbook assembles the original work of leading legal and economic scholars, working in a variety of traditions and methodologies, on the economic analysis of labor and employment law. In addition to surveying the current state of the art on the economics of labor markets and employment relations, the volume’s 16 chapters assess aspects of traditional labor law and union organizing, the law governing the employment contract and termination of employment, employment discrimination and other employer mandates, restrictions on employee mobility, and the forum and remedies for labor and employment claims.
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Chapter 6: The deserved demise of EFCA (and why the NLRA should share its fate)

Richard A. Epstein


For the past several years, Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress have championed the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Some defenders of the proposed legislation did not see it as a sea change. But that position was belied by the vast amounts of energy and money that the dominant players on both sides invested in the battle. Those expenditures are more consistent with the view that passage of the bill would have revolutionized management and labor relations over at least some substantial portion of the labor force, most likely in low-paying jobs in the service industries. When Barack Obama was elected President in November 2008, the odds were good that EFCA would be enacted quickly into law. Obama was elected with strong majorities in both houses of Congress, and the public had soured on American business and had accepted much of the populist critique that attributed the great financial crisis in the fall of 2008 to corporate greed and the nonstop financial machinations on Wall Street. Relationships between the administration and organized labor were close, and the two groups showed every sign of working effectively together on a powerful Congressional campaign to turn the bill into law.

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