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Industrial actions in schools: strikes and student achievement

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  • Michael Baker

Abstract

Many jurisdictions ban teacher strikes on the assumption that they negatively affect student achievement, but there is surprisingly little research on this question. The majority of existing studies make crosssection comparisons of the achievement of students who do or do not experience a strike. They conclude that strikes do not have an impact. I present new estimates of this impact of strikes using an empirical strategy that controls for fixed student characteristics at the school cohort level, and a sample of industrial actions by teachers in the province of Ontario. The results indicate that teacher strikes in grades 5 or 6 have a negative, statistically significant impact on test score growth between grade 3 and grade 6. The largest impact is on math scores: 29% of the standard deviation of test scores across school/grade cohorts.

Suggested Citation

  • 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:cje:issued:v:46:y:2013:i:3:p:1014-1036
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 150-176, October.
    2. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2010. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multiperiod Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 31-42, February.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718.
    6. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2009. "Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the United States?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(2), pages 115-149, April.
    7. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 3-33, February.
    8. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
    9. 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.
    10. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2017. "When Labor Disputes Bring Cities to a Standstill: The Impact of Public Transit Strikes on Traffic, Accidents, Air Pollution, and Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 1-37, February.
    2. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1966-1985 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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