Theses Doctoral

Bounded Unions: How Restrictive Labor Policies Affect Teachers, Students, and Progressive Politics

Lyon, Melissa Arnold

The Janus v. AFCSME (2018) decision has fundamentally changed the institutional context for U.S. teachers’ unions. Although this change has the potential to upend education politics and the labor movement more broadly, little research exists to help us predict and conceptualize the consequences of this change. To fill this gap, I first situate teachers’ unions and recent efforts to weaken them within the broader history of the United States labor movement. I then exploit the different timing across states in the passage of restrictive labor policies in a differences-in-differences/event study framework to identify how exposure to a restrictive labor policy affects students, teachers, and progressive politics. I present evidence not only of the productive information sharing role that teachers’ unions play via collective bargaining, but also of the slower and more incremental role of teachers’ unions through their efforts at alliance building and political advocacy for social welfare policies via progressive coalition building.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Education Policy
Thesis Advisors
Henig, Jeffrey
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 29, 2020