IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labour Market Matters - April 2013


  • Tran, Vivian


Teacher strikes can have many of effects, including creating major inconveniences for parents, but the most contentious issue is undoubtedly the impact on student learning. The argument against teachers’ right to strike is based on the assumption that teacher strikes negatively affect student achievement. However, there is surprisingly little research on the impact of teacher strikes on student development. The few existing studies typically make point in time comparisons of the achievement of students who do or do not experience a strike –an empirical strategy that is unlikely to reveal whether teacher strikes affect students. These studies tend to conclude that strikes do not have a significant impact. A study by CLSRN affiliate Michael Baker (University of Toronto) entitled “Industrial Actions in Schools: Strikes and Student Achievement†(CLSRN Working Paper no. 111) employs a different empirical strategy which compares the achievement of student cohorts before and after a strike. He finds that the effect of longer strikes is negative and significant for critical subjects such as reading and mathematics. The discipline of Economics is generally classified as a “social science†and thus the perception exists that the post-graduation earnings of an Economics degree graduate would be closer to that of other social science graduates, rather than wages of traditionally higher-paying disciplines in business, engineering, law or the natural sciences. While enrolment in Economic disciplines has been on an increasing trend in most Western countries since the Great Recession of 2007, this same trend has not been observed in Canada. A potential reason for this outcome may be the continued perception of Economics as a social science with the associated less lucrative wage outcomes compared to disciplines such as business, engineering and the natural sciences – which are traditionally perceived as high-paying disciplines. A study entitled “Economic Benefits of Studying Economics in Canada: a Comparison of Wages of Economics Majors with those in Other Disciplines Circa 2005†(CLSRN Working Paper no. 109) by CLSRN affiliates Ather H. Akbari and Yigit Aydede (both of St. Mary’s University) examines the wages earned by university degree holders in 50 disciplines in relation to economics, and finds that graduates in Economics actually earn higher wages than most other disciplines – significantly more than graduates of other social science disciplines such as Political science.

Suggested Citation

  • Tran, Vivian, 2013. "Labour Market Matters - April 2013," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-17, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Apr 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2013-17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Strikes; Student Achievement; Economics; Return to Education;

    JEL classification:

    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2013-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vivian Tran). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.