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Teacher pay and teacher aptitude

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  • Leigh, Andrew

Abstract

Can changes in teacher pay encourage more able individuals to enter the teaching profession? So far, studies of the impact of pay on the aptitude distribution of teachers have provided mixed evidence on the extent to which altering teacher salaries represents a feasible solution to the teacher quality problem. One possible reason is that these studies have been unable to separate labor supply effects from labor demand effects. To address this, I model the relationship between current salaries and the academic aptitude of future teachers (those entering teacher education courses). Using a unique dataset of test scores for every individual admitted into an Australian university between 1989 and 2003, I explore how interstate variation in average pay or pay dispersion affects the decision to enter teacher education courses. A 1 percent rise in the salary of a starting teacher boosts the average aptitude of students entering teacher education courses by 0.6 percentile ranks, with the effect being strongest for those at the median. This result is robust to instrumenting for teacher pay using uniform salary schedules for public schools. I also find some evidence that more pay dispersion in the non-teaching sector lowers the aptitude of potential teachers.

Suggested Citation

  • Leigh, Andrew, 2012. "Teacher pay and teacher aptitude," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 41-53.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:3:p:41-53
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.02.001
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    7. Gjefsen, Hege Marie, 2020. "Wages, teacher recruitment, and student achievement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    8. Maria Cotofan, 2019. "Learning from Praise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Teachers," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-082/V, Tinbergen Institute.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Salary; Occupational choice; Teaching;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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