Teachers? Unions in Comparative Perspective: Networks of Electoral Mobilization and Influence
Christopher Chambers-Ju

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Berkeley

Primary Discipline

In developing democracies, teachers have become politicized and teachers? unions have become powerful structures of mobilization. My research examines why teachers? unions in Colombia and Mexico developed networks of electoral mobilization and influence, while the union in Argentina did not. I examine whether teachers came together as a cohesive voting bloc, whether teachers organized political campaign activities, and how politicians and parties linked to the union influenced education policy. I use a multi-method approach to build and then test a theory of teachers? electoral participation. Triangulating between qualitative and quantitative data, I seek to identify and assess the causal weight of variables that help to explain teachers' electoral participation. Data was collected during 18 months of field work in three countries. In interviews I asked politicians and union leaders how they mobilized teachers as voters. I gathered databases of candidate recruitment, the territorial vote share of candidates and parties linked to teachers? unions, as well as teacher survey data on individual level political attitudes and behavior. This research is significant for education because teachers' unions are one of the strongest interest groups in the education sector. Examining how teacher? preferences are aggregated and transformed into political representation helps to shed light on the organization of the public education sector. Moreover, too much political engagement by teachers could hinder efforts to professionalize the teaching profession and distract from classroom instruction and pedagogical work. The electoral participation of teachers in developing countries is a crucial research question that deserves greater analysis.
About Christopher Chambers-Ju

Pin It on Pinterest