The Draw of Home: How Teachers' Preferences for Proximity Disadvantage Urban Schools

Donald Boyd, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb

NBER Working Paper No. 9953
Issued in September 2003
NBER Program(s):   ED

This paper explores a little understood aspect of labor markets, their spatial geography. Using data from New York State, we find teacher labor markets to be geographically very small. Teachers express preferences to teach close to where they grew up and, controlling for proximity, they prefer areas with characteristics similar to their hometown. We discuss implications of these preferences for the successful recruitment of teachers, including the potential benefits of local recruiting and training. We also discuss implications for the modeling of teacher labor markets, including the possible biases that arise in estimates of compensating differentials when distance is omitted from the analyses. This study contributes to the literature on the geography of labor markets more generally by employing data on residential location during childhood instead of current residence, which may be endogenous to job choice.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9953

Published: Boyd, Donald, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff. "The Draw of Home: How Teachers' Preferences for Proximity Disadvantage Urban Schools." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 24, 1 (Winter 2005): 113-32.

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