Join the Hoover Book Club for engaging discussions with leading authors on the hottest policy issues of the day. Hoover scholars explore the latest books that delve into some of the most vexing policy issues facing the United States and the world. Find out what makes these authors tick and how they think we should approach our most difficult challenges. 

In our latest installment, watch a discussion between Senior Fellow Terry Moe and Hoover Fellow Michael Hartney, author of How Policies Make Interest Groups: Governments, Unions, and American Education on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 10:00 am PT / 1:00pm ET.

WATCH HERE 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Michael Hartney is a Hoover Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and an assistant professor of political science at Boston College. Hartney’s scholarly expertise is in American politics and public policy with a focus on state and local governments, interest groups, and K–12 education politics and policy. His work has been published in top academic journals such as the American Political Science Review and the American Journal of Political Science and received press coverage in the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Hartney has also written for popular outlets including City Journal, Education Next, National Review, and the Washington Post. 

ABOUT THE BOOK 

A critical, revelatory examination of teachers unions' rise and influence in American politics.

As most American labor organizations struggle for survival and relevance in the twenty-first century, teachers unions appear to be an exception. Despite being all but nonexistent until the 1960s, these unions are maintaining members, assets—and political influence. As the COVID-19 epidemic has illustrated, today’s teachers unions are something greater than mere labor organizations: they are primary influencers of American education policy. How Policies Make Interest Groups examines the rise of these unions to their current place of influence in American politics.

Michael Hartney details how state and local governments adopted a new system of labor relations that subsidized—and in turn, strengthened—the power of teachers unions as interest groups in American politics. In doing so, governments created a force in American politics: an entrenched, subsidized machine for membership recruitment, political fundraising, and electoral mobilization efforts that have informed elections and policymaking ever since. Backed by original quantitative research from across the American educational landscape, Hartney shows how American education policymaking and labor relations have combined to create some of the very voter blocs to which it currently answers. How Policies Make Interest Groups is trenchant, essential reading for anyone seeking to understand why some voices in American politics mean more than others.

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