This paper examines the school governance environment in Uttar Pradesh, exploring in particular the extent to which this is influenced by teacher unions and teacher politicians. It musters evidence from a variety of sources in this potentially important but less researched area, in an attempt to investigate the implications for teacher salaries, teacher accountability, teacher effort and student achievement. Making use of existing data and a recent survey of teachers by the authors, the paper presents quantitative and qualitative evidence on the extent of political penetration of teachers, the activities of teacher unions and the stances of teachers’ organisations and teacher politicians on various educational decentralisation and accountability reform proposals over time. Finally the paper examines how student achievement varies with both teachers’ union membership and their political connections, after extensive other controls. Finding that students taught by teachers who have political connections or who are unionized have significantly lower achievement levels, it asks whether and to what extent this negative relationship works via unionized and politically connected teachers applying lower effort.
RECOUP Working Paper No. 31, Centre for Education and International Development, University of Cambridge, UK, 47 pp.