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School accountability and teacher mobility


  • Li Feng
  • David N. Figlio
  • Tim Sass


This paper presents the first causal evidence on the effects of school accountability systems on teacher labor markets. We exploit a 2002 change in Florida's school accountability system that exogenously shocked some schools to higher accountability grades and others to lower accountability grades, and measure whether teachers in shocked schools are more or less likely to move. Using microdata from the universe of Florida public school teachers, we find strong evidence that accountability shocks influence the teacher labor market; specifically, teachers are more likely to leave schools that have been downward shocked -- especially to the bottom grade -- and they are less likely to leave schools that have been upward shocked. We also find that accountability shocks influence the distribution of the measured quality of teachers (in terms of value added measures) who stay and leave their school, though the average differences are not large.

Suggested Citation

  • Li Feng & David N. Figlio & Tim Sass, 2010. "School accountability and teacher mobility," NBER Working Papers 16070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16070
    Note: CH ED

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Vouchers, Public School Response, And The Role Of Incentives: Evidence From Florida," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 500-526, January.
    2. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
    3. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Donald Boyd & Pamela Grossman & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2006. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 176-216, April.
    5. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2005. "Explaining the Short Careers of High-Achieving Teachers in Schools with Low-Performing Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 166-171, May.
    6. Li Feng, 2009. "Opportunity Wages, Classroom Characteristics, and Teacher Mobility," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1165-1190, April.
    7. Li Feng, 2010. "Hire Today, Gone Tomorrow: New Teacher Classroom Assignments and Teacher Mobility," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(3), pages 278-316, July.
    8. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor & Roger Aliaga Diaz, 2004. "Do school accountability systems make it more difficult for low-performing schools to attract and retain high-quality teachers?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 251-271.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Davidson & Randall Reback & Jonah E. Rockoff & Heather L. Schwartz, 2013. "Fifty Ways to Leave a Child Behind: Idiosyncrasies and Discrepancies in States' Implementation of NCLB," NBER Working Papers 18988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Krzysztof Karbownik, 2016. "The Effects of Student Composition on Teacher Turnover: Evidence from an Admission Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 6133, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Seth Gershenson, 2016. "Performance Standards and Employee Effort: Evidence From Teacher Absences," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(3), pages 615-638, June.
    4. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:12:y:2017:i:3:p:396-418 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:55-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Roel Elk & Suzanne Kok, 2016. "The Impact of a Comprehensive School Reform Policy for Weak Schools on Educational Achievement; Results of the First 4 years," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(4), pages 445-476, December.
    7. repec:ces:ifodic:v:11:y:2013:i:2:p:19092425 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Roel van Elk & Suzanne Kok, 2014. "The impact of a comprehensive school reform policy for failing schools on educational achievement; Results of the first four years," CPB Discussion Paper 264, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    9. Mariam Nawaz, 2013. "An Insight Into the Two Costing Technique: Absorption Costing and Marginal Costing," BRAND. Broad Research in Accounting, Negotiation, and Distribution, EduSoft Publishing, vol. 4(1), pages 48-61, March.
    10. Gershenson, Seth & Holt, Stephen B. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2015. "Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 9202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Karbownik, Krzysztof, 2014. "Do changes in student quality affect teacher mobility? Evidence from an admission reform," Working Paper Series 2014:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    12. Emiliana Vegas & Alejandro Ganimian, 2013. "Theory and Evidence on Teacher Policies in Developed and Developing Countries," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4597, Inter-American Development Bank.
    13. Stuit, David A. & Smith, Thomas M., 2012. "Explaining the gap in charter and traditional public school teacher turnover rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 268-279.
    14. Sam Sims, 2016. "High-Stakes Accountability and Teacher Turnover: how do different school inspection judgements affect teachers' decisions to leave their school?," DoQSS Working Papers 16-14, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    15. Gjefsen, Hege Marie & Gunnes, Trude, 2016. "The effects of School Accountability on Teacher Mobility and Teacher Sorting," MPRA Paper 69664, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:eee:anture:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:25-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jonah Rockoff & Lesley J. Turner, 2010. "Short-Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 119-147, November.
    18. Hege Marie Gjefsen & Trude Gunnes, 2015. "School accountability Incentives or sorting?," Discussion Papers 815, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education


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