IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Explaining the gap in charter and traditional public school teacher turnover rates


  • Stuit, David A.
  • Smith, Thomas M.


This study uses national survey data to examine why charter school teachers are more likely to turnover than their traditional public school counterparts. We test whether the turnover gap is explained by different distributions of factors that are empirically and theoretically linked to turnover risk. We find that the turnover rate of charter school teachers was twice as high as traditional public school teachers in 2003–04. Differences in the distributions of our explanatory variables explained 61.0% of the total turnover gap. The higher proportions of uncertified and inexperienced teachers in the charter sector, along with the lower rate of union membership, were the strongest contributors to the turnover gap. Charter school teachers were more likely to self-report that working conditions motivated their decisions to leave the profession or move schools, although we found no measurable evidence that the actual working conditions of charter and traditional public schools were different.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuit, David A. & Smith, Thomas M., 2012. "Explaining the gap in charter and traditional public school teacher turnover rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 268-279.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:2:p:268-279 DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2011.09.007

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
    2. Eric A. Hanushek & EJohn F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2004. "Why Public Schools Lose Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    3. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2005. "Explaining the Short Careers of High-Achieving Teachers in Schools with Low-Performing Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 166-171, May.
    4. Li Feng & David N. Figlio & Tim Sass, 2010. "School accountability and teacher mobility," NBER Working Papers 16070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-1240, September.
    6. Li Feng, 2009. "Opportunity Wages, Classroom Characteristics, and Teacher Mobility," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1165-1190, April.
    7. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    8. Donald Boyd & Pam Grossman & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2008. "Who Leaves? Teacher Attrition and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
    10. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    11. Imazeki, Jennifer, 2005. "Teacher salaries and teacher attrition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 431-449, August.
    12. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
    13. Podgursky, Michael & Monroe, Ryan & Watson, Donald, 2004. "The academic quality of public school teachers: an analysis of entry and exit behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 507-518, October.
    14. Scafidi, Benjamin & Sjoquist, David L. & Stinebrickner, Todd R., 2007. "Race, poverty, and teacher mobility," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 145-159, April.
    15. Mont, Daniel & Rees, Daniel I, 1996. "The Influence of Classroom Characteristics on High School Teacher Turnover," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 152-167, January.
    16. Monk, David H., 1994. "Subject area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 125-145, June.
    17. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christine H. Roch & Na Sai, 2015. "Nonprofit, For-Profit, or Stand-Alone? How Management Organizations Influence the Working Conditions in Charter Schools," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1380-1395, November.
    2. Marine De Talance, 2017. "Wealth Inequalities in Perceptions of School Quality in Pakistan," Working Papers hal-01662698, HAL.
    3. Marine de Talancé, 2016. "Wealth inequalities in perceptions of school quality in Pakistan," Working Papers DT/2016/14, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    4. Gabrielle Wills, 2015. "A profile of the labour market for school principals in South Africa: Evidence to inform policy," Working Papers 12/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Human capital; School choice;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:2:p:268-279. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.