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State teacher union strength and student achievement

, University of Chicago Law School, United States ; , University of Florida, Dept. of Economics, United States

Economics of Education Review Volume 35, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


A new and very small literature has provided evidence that students have lower test scores in larger school districts and in districts in which the district's teachers union has negotiated a contract that is more favorable to the district's teachers. The teachers’ unions at the state and national levels contribute a great deal of money to candidates for state and federal offices. This gives the unions some influence in passing (defeating) bills that would help (harm) the state's teachers. We introduce two novel measures of the strength of the state-wide teachers union: union dues per teacher and union expenditures per student. These reflect the key role of political influence for state-wide unions. We provide remarkably strong evidence that students in states with strong teachers unions have lower proficiency rates than students in states with weak state-wide teacher unions.


Lott, J. & Kenny, L.W. (2013). State teacher union strength and student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 35(1), 93-103. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved December 2, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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