Dr. Jane Lincove
University of Maryland Baltimore County, Associate Professor
When the Walls Come Down: Evidence from New Orleans on Teacher Labor Markets in the Absence of Unions, Tenure, and Certification Rules
October 4th, 2019
Lunch begins at 11:45 am
Talk from 12:00-1:00 pm
Benjamin Building 2121
Some education observers argue that teacher labor markets are inefficient and perhaps inequitable because union contracts and government regulation limit school autonomy over matters such as hiring, evaluation, compensation, and working conditions. If government regulation were removed to allow a more competitive teacher labor market, then, for example, schools might be able to do more to retain their high-performing teachers. We provide empirical evidence on the topic by comparing teacher exits from charter schools in New Orleans with neighboring traditional public school districts. Our results suggest schools in the market setting of New Orleans were more responsive to value-added quality measures than similar schools in neighboring districts with CBAs and traditional governance structures. In particular, we find evidence that schools in market settings are more likely to exit low-performing teachers and to retain high-quality teachers. We also find some evidence that schools compete for high-performing teachers by offering higher salaries to teachers at other schools, but do not use pay-for-performance for teachers they retain. While these results suggest that the New Orleans teacher labor market is more responsive to performance, the much higher average turnover rate, combined with supply constraints, may be reducing the initial quality of entering teachers over time. Overall, then, it is not clear whether New Orleans does a better job than traditional districts of ensuring that students have high-quality teachers.