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Labour Market for Teachers: Demographic Characteristics and Allocative Mechanisms

  • Gianna Barbieri

    (Ministry of Education)

  • Piero Cipollone

    (Bank of Italy, Deptartment for Structural Economic Analysis)

  • Paolo Sestito


    (Bank of Italy, Deptartment for Structural Economic Analysis)

This paper examines teachers’ labour market in Italy. Quality and motivation of teachers are receiving large attention as crucial determinants of pupils’ achievement. These characteristics are difficult to measure as testified by the lack of data. To overcome these difficulties we look at the composition of teachers’ pool and to their behaviour in the market in a first attempt to infer some information about their quality and motivation. We show that Italian teachers have traits and behaviour that are consistent with an implicit contract in which relatively low wages are compensated by low involvement in the job and low effort exerted. Next we look at the institutional features that might have motivated this implicit contract. In particular we examine the mechanism that allocates teachers to schools. For each school we construct three indicators; one indicating the level of turnover that we interpret as source of turmoil with potentially negative implications for pupils’ achievement; one that refers to the mismatch between tenured teachers and their school; the third indicator measures the quality of the school as evaluated by the whole population of tenured teachers and thus we name it “revealed preferences indicator”. We show that the geographical and across school distribution of these three indicators resemble that of perceived quality of the schools. While we do not attempt to identify, in any econometric sense, the causal link of these indicators with students performance, we do measure the association at the school level of our indicators with pupils achievement as provided by PISA 2003. It appears that our indicators are strongly correlated to the school’s performance, negatively to the turnover and to the mismatch indicator, positively to the revealed preferences expressed by the whole population of teachers. It seems that teachers know which are the best schools and gradually attempt to move there.

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Article provided by GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University in its journal Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia.

Volume (Year): 66 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 335-373

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Handle: RePEc:gde:journl:gde_v66_n3_p335-373
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  1. Caroline M. Hoxby & Andrew Leigh, 2004. "Pulled Away or Pushed Out? Explaining the Decline of Teacher Aptitude in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 236-240, May.
  2. Bishop, John H. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2004. "Institutional effects in a simple model of educational production," Munich Reprints in Economics 20279, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Alan Krueger, 2000. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Working Papers 826, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  5. Fuchs, Thomas & Wößmann, Ludger, 2007. "What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data," Munich Reprints in Economics 20303, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Sean P. Corcoran & William N. Evans & Robert S. Schwab, 2002. "Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers 1957-1992," NBER Working Papers 9180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "The Effects of a Centralized Clearinghouse on Job Placement, Wages, and Hiring Practices," NBER Working Papers 13529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Piero Cipollone & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Social Interactions in High School: Lessons from an Earthquake," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 948-965, June.
  11. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.?," NBER Working Papers 13648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bratti, Massimiliano & Checchi, Daniele & Filippin, Antonio, 2007. "Territorial Differences in Italian Students’ Mathematical Competencies: Evidence from PISA 2003," IZA Discussion Papers 2603, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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