As Prof. Mankiw notes, it’s strange to see well-known economists supporting the bill in Congress to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections, allowing instead for the union organizers to pressure workers to sign cards publicly that the organizers then collect and turn in. I wonder if those economists would also oppose the secret ballot in Congressional elections?
As Prof. Mankiw notes, unions are cartels of labors, so a second question is why economists like those cartels. Unions get a special exemption from anti-trust laws, but they are just monopoly sellers of labor. They aren’t even cartels that redistribute income from rich to poor— they do the opposite. Unionized workers are, I think, on average richer than the average person, so when they get higher wages by restricting the amount of labor hired those workers who lose their jobs in the industry end up with lower wages, and also end up paying the higher prices for things such as cars that the unions produce.
Anyway, here are the economists who signed the open letter that I’ve heard of in a scholarly context:
Katharine Abraham, University of Maryland Philippe Aghion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kenneth Arrow, Stanford University Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University Rebecca Blank, Brookings Institution Joseph Blasi, Rutgers University Alan S. Blinder, Princeton University William A. Darity, Duke University Brad DeLong, University of California/Berkeley John DiNardo, University of Michigan Henry Farber, Princeton University Robert H. Frank, Cornell University Richard Freeman, Harvard University James K. Galbraith, University of Texas Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University Lawrence Katz, Harvard University Dani Rodrik, Harvard University Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University Robert M. Solow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University Peter Temin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lester C. Thurow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology David Weil, Boston University