Title

Democratization, Education Reform, and the Mexican Teachers' Union

Publication Date

2014

Journal

Latin American Research Review

Volume

49

Issue

1

First Page

62

Last Page

82

Abstract

This study examines the effect of democratization on a key education reform across three Mexican states. Previous scholarship has found a positive effect of electoral competition on social spending, as leaders seek to improve their reelection prospects by delivering services to voters. However, the evidence presented here indicates that more money has not meant better educational outcomes in Mexico. Rather, new and vulnerable elected leaders are especially susceptible to the demands of powerful interest groups at the expense of accountability to constituents. In this case, the dominant teachers' union has used its leverage to exact greater control over the country's resource-rich merit pay program for teachers. It has exploited this control to increase salaries and decrease standards for advancement up the remuneration ladder. The evidence suggests that increased electoral competition has led to the empowerment of entrenched interests rather than voters, with an overall negative effect on education.

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