The effect of wage compression and alternative labor market opportunities on teacher quality in Venezuela
This paper examines the effect of teacher relative wages and teacher wage dispersion on high school graduates' preferences for teaching majors in College. This approximation to teacher quality is appropriate in a country like Venezuela as opposed to the US since the rigidity of the tertiary school system significantly limits mobility between majors. I combine data from the national college entrance examination from 1984 to 2003 with labor market data from the household surveys to construct a panel of data for quintiles of the test score distribution and age groups by states. The results suggest that teacher wage premia and wage dispersion have little effect on the quality mix of applicants to teaching. Most students' preference for teaching is unresponsive to wage levels relative to other occupations and to wage growth prospects within teaching. If wages have a positive effect on the performance of educational systems, this paper argues that it is unlikely to be through the selection of the most talented individuals.
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