Year of publication
Journal of Labor Economics
Although there is growing recognition of the contribution of teachers to students' educational outcomes, there are large gaps in our understanding of how teacher labor markets function. Low-income, low-achieving and non-white students, particularly those in urban areas, often are taught by the least skilled teachers. This sorting of teachers to jobs likely contributes to the substantial gaps in academic achievement among income and racial/ethnic groups of students. The objective of this paper is to develop and estimate a model that identifies the key factors explaining the allocation of teachers to jobs. The approach is based on a game-theoretic two-sided matching model and the estimation strategy employs the method of simulated moments. With this combination, we estimate how a range of factors affects the choices of individual teachers and hiring authorities, as well as how these choices interact to determine the equilibrium allocation of teachers across jobs. We find that teachers show preferences for schools that are closer geographically, are suburban, have a smaller proportion of students in poverty and, for white teachers, have a smaller proportion of minority students, while employers demonstrate preferences for teachers having stronger academic achievement, measured by having more than a BA degree, the selectivity of their undergraduate college, and their score on the basic knowledge teacher-certification exam, and for teachers living in closer proximity to the school. While these results may appear predictable, they contradict many prior hedonic wage equation estimates for teacher labor markets. Although the paper focuses on teacher labor markets, the empirical framework can be extended to the analysis of worker-job match in other settings.