Reevaluating the Effect of Non-Teaching Wages on Teacher Attrition

CAEPR Working Paper No. 022-2009

46 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2009 Last revised: 10 Mar 2011

See all articles by Gregory Gilpin

Gregory Gilpin

Montana State University - Bozeman

Date Written: November 30, 2010


Most empirical teacher attrition research focuses on estimating the effect of either alternate occupation opportunities or the teacher work environment on teacher attrition. In this paper, we use non-teaching wages of former teachers to estimate the determinants of teacher attrition, including the wage differential between teaching and non-teaching occupations, as well as the teacher work environment. The results suggest that the wage differential only matters for inexperienced teachers with less than 6 years of teaching experience, while the work environment affects both inexperienced and experienced teachers. The magnitude of the wage differential is small relative to the effect of the teaching work environment on teachers' exiting decisions. Furthermore, no compensating differentials of sufficient size are found. For inexperienced teachers, a teacher practicum, i.e., student teaching, is found to reduce attrition while certification and education degrees have no effect. Lastly, whether a teacher lives in households with income above $40,000 (excluding their own) significantly increases attrition.

Keywords: teacher attrition, non-teaching wage, teacher practicum, teacher safety

JEL Classification: J62, I22, J31

Suggested Citation

Gilpin, Gregory, Reevaluating the Effect of Non-Teaching Wages on Teacher Attrition (November 30, 2010). CAEPR Working Paper No. 022-2009. Available at SSRN: or

Gregory Gilpin (Contact Author)

Montana State University - Bozeman ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States
406 551 4887 (Phone)


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