Constrained Job Matching: Does Teacher Job Search Harm Disadvantaged Urban Schools?

50 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2010 Last revised: 20 Sep 2010

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2010

Abstract

Search theory suggests that early career job changes on balance lead to better matches that benefit both workers and firms, but this may not hold in teacher labor markets characterized by salary rigidities, barriers to entry, and substantial differences in working conditions that are difficult for institutions to alter. Of particular concern to education policy makers is the possibility that teacher turnover adversely affects the quality of instruction in schools serving predominantly disadvantaged children. Although such schools experience higher turnover on average than others, the impact on the quality of instruction depends crucially on whether it is the more productive teachers who are more likely to depart. The absence of direct measures of productivity typically hinders efforts to measure the effect of turnover on worker quality. In the case of teachers, however, the availability of matched panel data of students and teachers, enables the isolation of the contributions of teachers to achievement despite the complications of purposeful choices of families, teachers, and administrators. The empirical analysis reveals that teachers who remain in their school tend to outperform those who leave, particularly those who exit the Texas public schools entirely. Moreover, this gap appears to be larger for schools serving predominantly low income students, evidence that high turnover is not nearly as damaging as many suggest.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Rivkin, Steven G., Constrained Job Matching: Does Teacher Job Search Harm Disadvantaged Urban Schools? (March 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15816. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1569234

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
650-723-1687 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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