The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining

65 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2016

See all articles by Michael Lovenheim

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alexander Willen

Cornell University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 30, 2016


This paper presents the first analysis of the effect of teacher collective bargaining on long-run labor market and educational attainment outcomes. Our analysis exploits the different timing across states in the passage of duty-to-bargain laws in a difference-in-difference framework to identify how exposure to teacher collective bargaining affects the long-run outcomes of students. Using American Community Survey (ACS) data linked to each respondent’s state of birth, we examine labor market outcomes and educational attainment for 35-49 year olds. Our estimates suggest that teacher collective bargaining worsens the future labor market outcomes of students: living in a state that has a duty-to-bargain law for all 12 grade-school years reduces earnings by $800 (or 2%) per year and decreases hours worked by 0.50 hours per week. The earnings estimate indicates that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $199.6 billion in the US annually. We also find evidence of lower employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation, as well as reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which workers sort. The effects are driven by men and nonwhites, who experience larger relative declines in long-run outcomes. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining leads to sizable reductions in measured cognitive and non-cognitive skills among young adults. Taken together, our results suggest laws that support collective bargaining for teachers have adverse long-term labor market consequences for students.

Keywords: teachers unions, teacher labor markets, economics of education, collective bargaining

JEL Classification: I200, J450, J580

Suggested Citation

Lovenheim, Michael and Willen, Alexander, The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining (June 30, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5977. Available at SSRN:

Michael Lovenheim (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alexander Willen

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics