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Do Alternative Opportunities Matter? The Role of Female Labor Markets in the Decline of Teacher Quality

  • Marigee Bacolod
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    This paper documents the widely perceived but little investigated notion that teachers today are less qualified than they once were. Using standardized test scores, undergraduate institution selectivity, and positive assortative mating characteristics as measures of quality, evidence of a marked decline in the quality of young women going into teaching between 1960 and 1990 is presented. In contrast, the quality of young women becoming professionals increased. The Roy model of selfselection is used to highlight how occupation differences in the returns to skill determine average teacher quality. Estimates suggest the significance of increasing professional opportunities for women in affecting the decline in teacher quality.

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    File Function: First version, 2006
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    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 06-22.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:06-22
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    1. Peter Temin, 2002. "Teacher Quality and the Future of America," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 285-300, Summer.
    2. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
    3. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709, July.
    5. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
    6. Stoddard, Christiana, 2003. "Why has the number of teachers per student risen while teacher quality has declined?: The role of changes in the labor market for women," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 458-481, May.
    7. Susanna Loeb & Marianne E. Page, 2000. "Examining The Link Between Teacher Wages And Student Outcomes: The Importance Of Alternative Labor Market Opportunities And Non-Pecuniary Variation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, August.
    8. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
    9. Jacob Mincer, 1962. "Labor Force Participation of Married Women: A Study of Labor Supply," NBER Chapters, in: Aspects of Labor Economics, pages 63-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Cain, Glen G & Finnie, Ross E, 1990. "The Black-White Difference in Youth Employment: Evidence for Demand-Side Factors," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S364-95, January.
    11. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Brewer, Dominic J., 1994. "Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from High School and Beyond," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-17, March.
    12. Chinhui Juhn & Sandra E. Black, 2000. "The Rise of Female Professionals: Are Women Responding to Skill Demand?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 450-455, May.
    13. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
    14. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis, 1984. "Affirmative Action and Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 269-301, April.
    15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:1:p:97-133 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. 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.
    17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:3:p:671-718 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Sean P. Corcoran & William N. Evans & Robert M. Schwab, 2004. "Women, the labor market, and the declining relative quality of teachers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 449-470.
    19. Figlio, David N., 1997. "Teacher salaries and teacher quality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 267-271, August.
    20. Flyer, Fredrick & Rosen, Sherwin, 1997. "The New Economics of Teachers and Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S104-39, January.
    21. Darius Lakdawalla, 2001. "The Declining Quality of Teachers," NBER Working Papers 8263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Peter Temin, 2002. "Teacher Quality and the Future of America," NBER Working Papers 8898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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