Study shows union collective bargaining in schools has negative learning effect on boys

By LIV FINNE  | 
POLICY NOTES
|
Jan 26, 2018

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Key Findings:

  1. A comprehensive economic analysis shows mandatory union bargaining reduces the quality of public education students receive.
     
  2. The negative effect falls disproportionately on boys.
     
  3. The study found “robust evidence” that these laws worsen the future labor market earnings of boys.
     
  4. Earnings estimates for men show teacher collective bargaining systems reduce earnings by $149.6 billion in the U.S. annually.
     
  5. This secret collective bargaining system raises concerns about whether learning needs of children are sacrificed to fund the labor agenda of a particular union.
     
  6. In response states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Idaho and Tennessee, and Michigan have passed reforms to reduce the power of union executives over public K-12 education budgets.

Introduction
A comprehensive economic analysis of the effect of union collective bargaining in public schools shows mandatory union bargaining reduces the quality of public education students receive.  Researchers found the negative effect falls disproportionately on boys, and especially on black and Hispanic boys. 

Study findings
The study, authored by economists Michael Lovenheim of Cornell University and the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Alexander Willen of Cornell University, examined labor market outcomes and the level of education attained for 35 to 49 year-olds. The economists used the different timing across states of mandatory teacher collective bargaining laws to examine these effects, and found “robust evidence” that these laws worsen the future labor market earnings of boys. 

Specifically, the economists found that teacher collective bargaining laws worsen the future labor market earnings of boys. Living in a state with these laws reduces male earnings by $1,493 (or 2.75%) per year and decreases hours worked by 0.52 hours per week. 

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