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Do Financial Incentives Help Low-Performing Schools Attract and Keep Academically Talented Teachers? Evidence from California

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  • Jennifer L. Steele
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • John B. Willett

Abstract

This study capitalizes on a natural experiment that occurred in California between 2000 and 2002. In those years, the state offered a competitively allocated $20,000 incentive called the Governor's Teaching Fellowship (GTF) aimed at attracting academically talented, novice teachers to low-performing schools and retaining them in those schools for at least four years. Taking advantage of data on the career histories of 27,106 individuals who pursued California teaching licenses between 1998 and 2003, we use an instrumental variables strategy to estimate the unbiased impact of the GTF on the decisions of recipients to begin working in low-performing schools within two years after licensure program enrollment. We estimate that GTF recipients would have been less likely to teach in low-performing schools than observably similar counterparts had the GTF not existed, but that acquiring a GTF increased their probability of doing so by 28 percentage points. Examining retention patterns, we find that 75 percent of both GTF recipients and non-recipients who began working in low-performing schools remained in such schools for at least four years.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14780.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14780

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  1. Imbens, G. & Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in the Netherlands," Working Papers 93-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Clotfelter, Charles & Glennie, Elizabeth & Ladd, Helen & Vigdor, Jacob, 2008. "Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1352-1370, June.
  3. Donald Boyd & Pamela Grossman & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2005. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob, 2005. "Who teaches whom? Race and the distribution of novice teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 377-392, August.
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