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The New Economics of Teachers and Education

  • Frederick Flyer
  • Sherwin Rosen

Rapidly growing costs of elementary and secondary education are studied in the context of the rising value of women's time. The three-fold increase in direct costs of education per student in the past three decades was caused by increasing demand and utilization of teacher and staff inputs, attributable to growing market opportunities of women and changes in the structure of families. Substitution of purchased teacher and staff inputs for own household time in the total production of children's education and maturation is a predictable economic response to these forces. On the supply side, the 'flexibility option,' that female teachers who take temporary leaves to raise children do not suffer subsequent wage loss upon reentry, is shown to be an important attraction of the teaching profession to women. Other college educated women suffer reentry wage losses of 10 percent per year of leave. The estimated value of flexibility in teaching is 5 percent of life-cycle earnings and will fall as labor force interruptions of women for child-rearing become less frequent. Both supply and demand considerations suggest that the direct costs of education per student will continue to increase in the future, independent of political and other organization reforms of schools.

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Paper provided by Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State in its series University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State with number 94.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fth:chices:94
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, CENTER FOR STUDY OF THE ECONOMY AND THE STATE, 1101 E. 58TH STREET CHICAGO ILLINOIS 60637.
Web page: http://research.chicagobooth.edu/economy/

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  1. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
  3. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, 07.
  4. Jacob Alex Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1994. "The Work-Employment Distinction among New Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 277-303.
  5. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G. & Jamison, Dean T., 1992. "Improving educational outcomes while controlling costs," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 205-238, December.
  6. Kathryn Shaw, 1994. "The Persistence of Female Labor Supply: Empirical Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 348-378.
  7. Peltzman, Sam, 1993. "The Political Economy of the Decline of American Public Education," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 331-70, April.
  8. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  9. Steven H. Sandell & David Shapiro, 1980. "Work Expectations, Human Capital Accumulation, and the Wages of Young Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(3), pages 335-353.
  10. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  12. David Shapiro & Frank L. Mott, 1994. "Long-Term Employment and Earnings of Women in Relation to Employment Behavior Surrounding the First Birth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 248-275.
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