NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED508973
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May-25
Pages: 46
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
Collective Bargaining and the Performance of the Public Schools
Moe, Terry M.
Education Working Paper Archive
Students of American politics have had little to say about public sector unions and their impacts on government. There is, of course, a vast literature on public bureaucracy. But that literature has always emphasized that the power of bureaucrats is rooted in their expertise, or in the entrepreneurial activities of agency leaders. It has largely ignored the fact that bureaucrats can and often do join unions to promote their own interests, and that the power of these unions may have important consequences for--and help explain--the policies, organization, and performance of government. In this paper, I study the effects of unionization on public education. Specifically, my focus here is on the public schools, which are among the most common form of government agency in the United States, and I investigate whether collective bargaining by teachers--the key bureaucrats in this case--affects the capacity of the schools to educate children. Using data from the state of California, the analysis shows that, in large school districts, the restrictiveness of the teacher contract has a very negative impact on academic achievement. It also shows that, in these large districts, restrictive contract rules are especially negative in their effects on the academic achievement of minorities. The evidence presented here, then, suggests that public sector unions do indeed have important consequences for American public education. Whether they are consequential in other areas of government remains to be seen, but it is an avenue of research well worth pursuing. (Contains 2 figures, 4 tables, and 18 footnotes.)
Education Working Paper Archive. Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, 201 Graduate Education Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701. Tel: 479-575-3172; Fax: 479-575-3196; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California