Educational Business Cycles: The Political Economy of Teacher Hiring Across German States, 1992-2004
Posted: 21 Nov 2007 Last revised: 24 Sep 2009
Date Written: April 8, 2008
Strong institutional constraints and better-informed voters may lead re-election seeking incumbents to shift the use of political business cycle mechanisms away from monetary and fiscal policy towards other policy domains that are more easily manipulable, targetable, and timeable. We investigate teacher employment patterns at the state level in Germany and find strong evidence of cycling mechanisms, in the form of electioneering and honeymooning. Against a backdrop of a continuously shrinking total teachers' pool, German state-level incumbents accelerate the hiring of new teachers during election periods and partly reverse this during politically safer points in the electoral cycle. Cycles are mediated by issue salience: heightened attention to German public schooling after the notorious PISA-2000 tests further strengthens the manipulation of new teacher hiring for electoral purposes.
Keywords: Public Education, Teacher Employment, Political-Economic Cycles, German Federalism, Electioneering, Honeymooning
JEL Classification: D72, I28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation