Labor Strife in Public Schools: Does it Affect Education Production?

Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

Last school year, teachers or employees from fourteen Pennsylvania public school districts went on strike. In Pennsylvania, as in eight other states, strikes are a legal and regulated part of collective bargaining, a process in which, every few years, teachers’ unions and local school boards meet to agree upon pay, benefits, and working conditions. Theory and empirical evidence from manufacturing (Kleiner, Leonard & Pilarski [1999]; Mas [2007]; Krueger & Mas [2003]) and the service sector (Mas [2006]) tell us that labor strife causes a decrease in employee productivity, but there have been no studies exploring whether the relationship between labor strife and teacher productivity can be measured empirically. The contribution of this paper to the literature is to document whether the same relationship that exists in firms, between production and labor strife, exists in public schools, between education production and teachers’ labor disputes.