The determinants of teacher mobility. Evidence from a panel of Italian teachers
In the Italian system teachers are allocated to schools according to a seniority-based centralized system with no role of individual schools in attracting, selecting and retaining teachers. Largely because of the rather limited pay scale, seniority-based rights to move to a particular school and geographical location represent one of the main career opportunities for tenured teachers. This paper examines the main drivers of the resulting (voluntary) mobility of Italian teachers. We find that the teachers' place of birth (after securing a tenured position, teachers try find work near their place of birth) and several features related to the student mix and the social context of the school are very important. Teachers systematically try to move away from schools where teaching is likely to be more difficult, for example where the students come from a lower socio-economic background and have poorer educational abilities even though teachers could have a more important role in boosting students' human capital accumulation. The centralized allocation system does not appear to equalize opportunities among different school environments. Furthermore, the absence of any criteria other than seniority in regulating teachers' locational preferences produces high staff turnover and a widespread lack of motivation among teachers who, all too often, are simply waiting in one school until they can move on to another.
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