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Unionization and Productivity: Evidence from Charter Schools

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  • Hart, Cassandra M. D.

    () (University of California, Davis)

  • Sojourner, Aaron J.

    () (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between teacher unionization and student achievement. Generally stable patterns of teacher unionization since the 1970s have historically presented challenges in measuring the effects of unionization on educational production. However, the blossoming of the charter school sector in recent decades provides fertile ground for study because while most charters are non-union, teachers at some charters have unionized. Using a generalized difference-in-difference approach combining California union certification data with student achievement data from 2003-2012, we find that, aside from a one-year dip in achievement associated with the unionization process itself, unionization does not affect student achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Hart, Cassandra M. D. & Sojourner, Aaron J., 2014. "Unionization and Productivity: Evidence from Charter Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 7887, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7887
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 79-119.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1990. "Employer Behavior in the Face of Union Organizing Drives," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(4), pages 351-365, July.
    3. Aaron J. Sojourner & Brigham R. Frandsen & Robert J. Town & David C. Grabowski & Min M. Chen, 2015. "Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(4), pages 771-806, August.
    4. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
    5. Aaron J. Sojourner & Elton Mykerezi, 2014. "Teacher Pay Reform and Productivity: Panel Data Evidence from Adoptions of Q-Comp in Minnesota," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 945-981.
    6. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2010. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 244-262, May.
    7. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    8. Hanushek, Eric A., 2011. "The economic value of higher teacher quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 466-479, June.
    9. Rose, Heather & Sonstelie, Jon, 2010. "School board politics, school district size, and the bargaining power of teachers' unions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 438-450, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Randall W. Eberts & Joe A. Stone, 1987. "Teacher Unions and the Productivity of Public Schools," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(3), pages 354-363, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; charter school; student achievement; labor union; teacher; labor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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