The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining

63 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018

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

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Date Written: July 2018


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 timing of passage of duty-tobargain laws across cohorts within states and across states over time. 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: in the first 10 years after passage of a duty-to-bargain law, male earnings decline by $2,134 (or 3.93%) per year and hours worked decrease by 0.42 hours per week. The earnings estimates for men indicate that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $213.8 billion in the US annually. We also find evidence of lower male 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. Estimates among women are often confounded by secular trend variation, though we do find suggestive evidence of negative impacts among nonwhite women. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining laws lead to reductions in measured non-cognitive skills among young men.

Suggested Citation

Lovenheim, Michael and Willen, Alexander, The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining (July 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24782, 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

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