Panel Paper: The Demand for Teacher Characteristics in the Market for Child Care: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Friday, November 9, 2018
Wilson B - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Casey H. Boyd-Swan, Kent State University and Chris M. Herbst, Arizona State University

This paper sheds light on two key issues regarding the demand for teacher characteristics in the market for center-based child care. First, we study the extent to which teacher qualifications—often considered important inputs to classroom quality—are valued by providers during the hiring process. We then examine the impact of state regulations on hiring decisions. To do so, a resume audit study was administered in which job-seeker characteristics were randomly assigned to resumes that were submitted in response to real child care job postings in 14 U.S. cities. Our results indicate that center-based providers may not hire the most qualified applicants. For example, we find that although providers have a strong preference for individuals with previous work experience in early childhood education (ECE), those with more ECE experience are less likely to receive an interview than those with less experience. We also find that individuals with bachelor’s degrees in ECE are no more likely to receive an interview than their counterparts at the associate’s level. Our analysis of state regulations shows that they strongly influence teacher hiring decisions. We find that providers’ advertised job requirements are largely in compliance with the state standards for teachers’ experience and education. In addition, providers are substantially more likely to interview job-seekers who meet these requirements. Given that most providers voluntarily exceed the state regulations, a tentative conclusion is that such rules have a limited effect on child care supply and prices.