Reevaluating the effect of non-teaching wages on teacher attrition
Abstract Most empirical teacher attrition research focuses on estimating the effect of either the alternate occupation opportunities or the teacher work environment on teacher attrition. In this paper, we use non-teaching wages of former teachers to estimate the determinants of teacher attrition, including the wage differential between teaching and non-teaching occupations, as well as the teacher work environment. The results suggest that the wage differential only matters for inexperienced teachers with less than 6 years of teaching experience, while the work environment affects both inexperienced and experienced teachers. The magnitude of the wage differential is small relative to the effect of the teaching work environment on teachers' exiting decisions. Furthermore, no compensating differentials of sufficient size are found. For inexperienced teachers, a teacher practicum, i.e., student teaching, is found to reduce attrition while certification and education degrees have no effect. Lastly, whether a teacher lives in households with income above $40,000 (excluding their own) significantly increases attrition.
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