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Do Teachers Really Leave for Higher Paying Jobs in Alternative Occupations?

December 1, 2005

In this paper we examine one of the fundamental beliefs underlying education policy - that the majority of teacher attrition is caused by the attractiveness of higher-paying alternative occupations. Using unique data from the state of Georgia that are created by merging administrative data from the educational system with wage records from the Unemployment Insurance system, we find very strong evidence that this common perception is not correct. A simple theoretical framework indicates that correct information about what teachers do when they leave teaching is important from the standpoint of designing effective education policy and that the current existence of incorrect information may have quite harmful effects. The paper discusses why incorrect information of this type might arise and why it has been able to persist. Working Paper 06-50

Race, Poverty, and Teacher Mobility

November 1, 2004

This paper provides information about the importance of non-pecuniary school characteristics, such as race and poverty, on teacher turnover in Georgia. Simple descriptive statistics indicate that new teachers are more likely to leave schools with lower test scores, lower income, or higher proportions of minorities. A linear probability and a competing risks model of transitions out of first teaching jobs allow us to separate the importance of these highly correlated school characteristics. The estimates imply that teachers are much more likely to exit schools with large proportions of minority students, and that the other univariate statistical relationships are driven to a large extent by their correlation with the minority variable. Thus, while the common notion that teachers are more likely to leave high poverty schools is correct, it occurs because teachers are more likely to leave a particular type of poor school - one with a large proportion of minorities. Working Paper 06-51

Racial Segregation in Georgia Public Schools, 1994-2001: Trends, Causes, and Impact on Teacher Quality

November 1, 2002

This report looks at recent trends in segregation and its impact on teacher quality in the state of Georgia.

Are Small Urban Centers Magnets for Economic Growth?

December 1, 2001

This report estimates a model of county-level job growth and finds an effect of small urban centers on their regional economies.