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

Listed author(s):
  • Boyd-Swan, Casey

    ()

    (Kent State University)

  • Herbst, Chris M.

    ()

    (Arizona State University)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10702.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10702.

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    Length: 56 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2017
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10702
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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).
    2. Felfe, Christina & Lalive, Rafael, 2014. "Does Early Child Care Help or Hurt Children's Development?," IZA Discussion Papers 8484, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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. 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).
    6. 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, 09.
    7. 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.
    8. Joanna N. Lahey, 2008. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    9. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    10. 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.
    11. Nunley John M. & Pugh Adam & Romero Nicholas & Seals R. Alan, 2015. "Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 1093-1125, July.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30367409 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
    14. Lahey, Joanna N. & Beasley, Ryan A., 2009. "Computerizing audit studies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 508-514, June.
    15. Yanbo Ge & Christopher R. Knittel & Don MacKenzie & Stephen Zoepf, 2016. "Racial and Gender Discrimination in Transportation Network Companies," NBER Working Papers 22776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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