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How Do Teachers Improve? The Relative Importance of Specific and General Human Capital

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  • Ben Ost
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    Abstract

    One of the most consistent findings in the literature on teacher quality is that teachers improve with experience, especially in the first several years. This study extends this research by separately identifying the benefits of general teaching experience and specific curriculum familiarity. I find that both specific and general human capital contribute to teacher improvement and that recent specific experience is more valuable than distant specific experience. This paper also contributes to a broader literature on human capital acquisition, as it is among the first to examine human capital specificity using a direct measure of productivity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 127-51

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:127-51

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.2.127
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    Web page: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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    1. Dennis Görlich & Andries de Grip, 2009. "Human capital depreciation during hometime," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i98-i121, April.
    2. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
    3. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2007. "Teacher credentials and student achievement: Longitudinal analysis with student fixed effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 673-682, December.
    4. Thomas J. Kane & Stephanie K. Riegg & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "School Quality, Neighborhoods, and Housing Prices," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 183-212.
    5. Douglas N. Harris, 2009. "Would Accountability Based on Teacher Value Added Be Smart Policy? An Examination of the Statistical Properties and Policy Alternatives," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 319-350, October.
    6. Cory Koedel & Julian Betts, 2010. "Value Added to What? How a Ceiling in the Testing Instrument Influences Value-Added Estimation," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 54-81, January.
    7. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
    8. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
    9. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
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