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The Demand for Teacher Characteristics in the Market for Child Care: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author

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  • Boyd-Swan, Casey

    () (Kent State University)

  • Herbst, Chris M.

    () (Arizona State University)

Abstract

Many preschool-age children in the U.S. attend center-based child care programs that are of low quality. This paper examines the extent to which teacher qualifications – widely considered important inputs to classroom quality – are valued by providers during the hiring process. To do so, we administered a resume audit study in which job-seeker characteristics were randomly assigned to a large number of resumes that were submitted in response to real child care job postings in 14 cities. Our results indicate that center-based providers may not hire the most qualified applicants. For example, we find that although providers have a strong preference for individuals with previous work experience in early childhood education (ECE), those with more ECE experience are less likely to receive an interview than those with less experience. We also find that individuals with bachelor's degrees in ECE are no more likely to receive an interview than their counterparts at the associate's level, even in the market for lead preschool-age teachers. Furthermore, those revealing high levels of academic performance, as measured by grade point average, are generally not preferred by child care providers. Finally, it appears that some non-quality attributes do not influence hiring decisions (e.g., signaling car ownership), while others have large effects on teacher hiring (e.g., applicant race/ethnicity). Together, our findings shed light on the complex trade-offs made by center-based providers attempting to offer high-quality programs while earning sufficient revenue to stay in business.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2017. "The Demand for Teacher Characteristics in the Market for Child Care: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10702
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Farber, Henry S & Silverman, Dan & Wachter, Till von, 2015. "Factors Determining Callbacks to Job Applications by the Unemployed: An Audit Study," IZA Discussion Papers 9465, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    3. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    4. Stefan Eriksson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Do Employers Use Unemployment as a Sorting Criterion When Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 1014-1039, March.
    5. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "What Kind of Teachers Are Schools Looking For? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Working Paper 1436, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "Obesity, Attractiveness, and Differential Treatment in Hiring: A Field Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    7. Rajeev Darolia & Cory Koedel & Paco Martorell & Katie Wilson & Francisco Perez‐Arce, 2015. "Do Employers Prefer Workers Who Attend For‐Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(4), pages 881-903, September.
    8. David J. Deming & Noam Yuchtman & Amira Abulafi & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2016. "The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 778-806, March.
    9. Joanna N. Lahey, 2008. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
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    11. David M. Blau & Alison P. Hagy, 1998. "The Demand for Quality in Child Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 104-146, February.
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    13. repec:hrv:faseco:30367409 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Philip Oreopoulos, 2011. "Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 148-171, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child care quality; teacher qualifications; resume audit study; field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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