Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Public Schools Are Hemorrhaging Talented Teachers: Can Higher Salaries Function As a Tourniquet?

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 10:55 AM
Flamingo (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Matthew Hendricks, University of Tulsa
Research has clearly established that increasing teacher salaries reduces overall teacher attrition. A
related question is whether higher salaries differentially retain high-ability teachers. Prior evidence suggests
that the answer to this question is no. In this work, I revisit this question using a large panel dataset
from Texas that links teachers to their certification scores, base salary, and mobility patterns. I find that
differential retention effects of teacher salaries are more complicated than past research reveals. Differential
pay effects depend on teacher experience, so overall differential pay effects mask the effects that
occur among experienced teachers. Increasing salaries for teachers with 3 or more years of experience
differentially retains high-ability teachers, while higher salaries for teachers with 0-2 years of experience
differentially retain low-ability teachers. This likely occurs because higher early-career salaries disrupt
a positive sorting process that exits among novice teachers.

Full Paper: