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The Economic Effects of Unions in Latin America: Teachers' Unions and Education in Argentina

  • Maria Victoria Murillo
  • Mariano Tommasi
  • Lucas Ronconi
  • Juan Sanguinetti

This paper considers the effects of trade unions on the education sector in Argentina. We have provided a substantial amount of new information and we have found useful preliminary results on some of the channels of union influence on the performance of this crucial sector. We find that those provinces where teacher unionism is fragmented, where union density is higher and where political relations with the governor are more conflictual, have more strikes (fewer class days). Based on estimates of education production functions both in this paper and elsewhere, we expect this to translate into lower student performance. We then find a number of weak conclusions related to the impact that unions have on several variables that affect students’ performance (i. e. , teachers’ tenure, job satisfaction, class size, education budget and teachers’ salaries). Reviewing these results, we conclude that the impact of unions on students’ performance depends on the channel and kind of political market where unions operate, but not on the existence of unions per se.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3156.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3156
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  1. Ashenfelter, Orley & Johnson, George E, 1969. "Bargaining Theory, Trade Unions, and Industrial Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 35-49, March.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1999. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," NBER Working Papers 7332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel Maceira & Maria Victoria Murillo, 2001. "Social Sector Reform in Latin America and the Role of Unions," Research Department Publications 4275, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Moene, K.O. & Wallerstein, M. & Hoel, M., 1992. "Bargaining Structure and Economic Performance," Memorandum 10/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  5. Kennan, John, 1987. "The economics of strikes," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 1091-1137 Elsevier.
  6. Juan Carlos Navarro & Rafael de la Cruz, 1997. "La organización industrial de servicios de educación en Venezuela," Research Department Publications 3002, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Hoxby, Caroline Minter, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718, August.
  8. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
  9. Hanushek, Eric, 1971. "Teacher Characteristics and Gains in Student Achievement: Estimation Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 280-88, May.
  10. Jaime Saavedra-Chanduví & Hugo Díaz, 2000. "La carrera de maestros: Factores institucionales, incentivos económicos y desempeño," Research Department Publications 3109, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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