Why Public Schools Lose Teachers

Eric A. Hanushek
John F. Kain
Steven G. Rivkin
Published Date
Spring 2004
The Journal of Human Resources
pp. 326-354
Many school districts experience difficulties attracting and retaining teachers, and the impending retirement of a substantial fraction of public school teachers raises the specter of severe shortages in some public schools. Schools in urban areas serving economically disadvantaged and minority students appear particularly vulnerable. This paper investigates those factors that affect the probabilities that teachers switch schools or exit the public schools entirely. The results indicate that teacher mobility is much more strongly related to characteristics of the students, particularly race and achievement, than to salary, although salary exerts a modest impact once compensating differentials are taken into account.