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Industrial Actions in Schools: Strikes and Student Achievement

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  • Michael Baker

Abstract

While many jurisdictions ban teacher strikes on the assumption that they harm students, there is surprisingly little research on this question. The majority of existing studies make cross section comparisons of students who do or do not experience a strike, and report that strikes do not affect student performance. I present new estimates from a sample of strikes in the Canadian province of Ontario over the period 1998-2005. The empirical strategy controls for fixed student characteristics at the school cohort level. The results indicate that teacher strikes in grades 2 or 3 have on average a small, negative and statistically insignificant effect on grade 3 through grade 6 test score growth, although there is some heterogeneity across school boards. The effect of strikes in grades 5 and 6 on grade 3 through grade 6 score growth is negative, much larger and statistically significant. The largest impact is on math scores: 29 percent of the standard deviation of test scores across school/grade cohorts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16846.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Publication status: published as Michael Baker, 2013. "Industrial actions in schools: strikes and student achievement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(3), pages 1014-1036, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16846

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  2. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2009. "The Effect of Teachers' Unions on Education Production: Evidence from Union Election Certifications in Three Midwestern States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 525-587, October.
  3. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F., 2009. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multi-Period Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-43, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Jul 2009.
  4. David Card & Martin D. Dooley & A. Abigail Payne, 2010. "School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 150-76, October.
  5. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.?," NBER Working Papers 13648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Baker, Michael, 2013. "Industrial Actions in Schools: Strikes and Student Achievement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-8, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2013.

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