Do Teachers Really Leave for Higher Paying Jobs in Alternative Occupations?
49 Pages Posted: 15 May 2006
Date Written: November 2004
In this paper we examine one of the fundamental beliefs underlying education policy - that the majority of teacher attrition is caused by the attractiveness of higher-paying alternative occupations. Using unique data from the state of Georgia that are created by merging administrative data from the educational system with wage records from the Unemployment Insurance system, we find very strong evidence that this common perception is not correct. A simple theoretical framework indicates that correct information about what teachers do when they leave teaching is important from the standpoint of designing effective education policy and that the current existence of incorrect information may have quite harmful effects. The paper discusses why incorrect information of this type might arise and why it has been able to persist.
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