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Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers 1957-1992

  • Sean P. Corcoran
  • William N. Evans
  • Robert S. Schwab

School officials and policy makers have grown increasingly concerned about their ability to attract and retain talented teachers. A number of authors have shown that in recent years the brightest students at least those with the highest verbal and math scores on standardized tests are less likely to enter teaching. In addition, it is frequently claimed that the ability of schools to attract these top students has been steadily declining for years. There is, however, surprisingly little evidence measuring the extent to which this popular proposition is true. We have good reason to suspect that the quality of those entering teaching has fallen over time. Teaching has remained a predominately female profession for years; at the same time, the employment opportunities for talented women outside of teaching have soared. In this paper, we combine data from four longitudinal surveys of high school graduates spanning the years 1957-1992 to examine how the propensity for talented women to enter teaching has changed over time. We find that while the quality of the average new female teacher has fallen only slightly over this period, the likelihood that a female from the top of her high school class will eventually enter teaching has fallen dramatically from 1964 to 1992 by our estimation, from almost 20% to under 4%.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9180.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9180.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Corcoran, Sean P., William N. Evans and Robert M. Schwab. "Changing Labor-Market Opportunities For Women And The Quality Of Teachers, 1957-2000," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(2,May), 230-235.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9180
Note: CH ED
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  1. 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.
  2. Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," NBER Working Papers 8875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Hanushek, Eric, 1971. "Teacher Characteristics and Gains in Student Achievement: Estimation Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 280-88, May.
  5. Frederick Flyer & Sherwin Rosen, 1994. "The New Economics of Teachers and Education," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 94, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  6. Peter Temin, 2002. "Teacher Quality and the Future of America," NBER Working Papers 8898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hanushek, Eric A. & Pace, Richard R., 1995. "Who chooses to teach (and why)?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 101-117, June.
  9. Darius Lakdawalla, 2001. "The Declining Quality of Teachers," NBER Working Papers 8263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peter Temin, 2002. "Teacher Quality and the Future of America," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 285-300, Summer.
  11. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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