Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Economics, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Thomas D. Willett

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Arthur T. Denzau

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Graham Bird

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© Copyright Padmapriya Gollapudi, 2020. All rights reserved

Subject Categories



This dissertation examines how collective bargaining by teachers’ unions affects public school expenditures in the United States, under different collective bargaining laws. It offers a unified empirical framework to test for the relative influence of the budget-maximizing bureaucracy model and the median voter model in explaining variations in public education expenditures. Drawing on existing classifications, it creates a more comprehensive classification of the strength of collective bargaining laws in different states. Using a national sample of nearly 3,250 unified school districts for 2011, it finds that districts with greater teacher collective bargaining spend more on their overall public education expenditures per pupil than districts with either lower teachers’ union density or no collective bargaining agreements. Teachers’ union density and collective bargaining agreements act as complements. The presence of teacher collective bargaining agreements in school districts appears to be a stronger determinant of district expenditures than their state collective bargaining laws; this applies to states where teacher collective bargaining is not banned by law. Through a decomposition of the variances explained, this dissertation suggests that teacher collective bargaining may be more influential than local resident characteristics for determining local public education expenditures, even though both models have some significant impact.