The American Economic Association just wrapped up its annual meeting in Philadelphia, and one of the panels was devoted to the issue of the economic effects of teachers’ unions. Get a load of the abstract from this paper from two Cornell University economists presented at the panel:
The Long-run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining
Michael Lovenheim, Alexander Willen, Cornell University
Teacher collective bargaining is a highly debated feature of the education system in the US. This paper presents the first analysis of the effect of teacher collective bargaining laws on long-run labor market and educational attainment outcomes, exploiting the different timing across states in the passage of duty-to-bargain laws in a difference-in-difference framework. Using American Community Survey data linked to each respondent’s state of birth, we examine labor market outcomes and educational attainment for 35-49 year olds, separately by gender. We find robust evidence that exposure to teacher collective bargaining laws worsens the future labor market outcomes of men: living in a state that has a duty-to-bargain law for all 12 grade-school years reduces male earnings by $1,493 (or 2.75%) per year and decreases hours worked by 0.52 hours per week. Estimates for women do not show consistent evidence of negative effects on these outcomes. The earnings estimates for men indicate that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $149.6 billion in the US annually. Among men, we also find evidence of lower employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation. Exposure to collective bargaining laws leads to reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which male workers sort as well. Effects are largest among black and Hispanic men, although white and Asian men also experience sizable negative impacts of collective bargaining exposure. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining law exposure leads to reductions in measured cognitive and non-cognitive skills among young adults, and these effects are larger for men.
Christina Hoff Sommers has been arguing for a long while now that our current K-12 education system is heavily biased against boys, which she attributes to ascendant feminist ideology. Looks like unions play a large role as well. Of course, the main point of unionization is not to help kids: it’s about political power. Maybe someone should bring a whopping class action civil rights suit against them.
Hat tip: Iain Murray, Instapundit.