Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina

Charles Clotfelter, Elizabeth Glennie, Helen Ladd, Jacob Vigdor

NBER Working Paper No. 12285
Issued in June 2006
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education

For a three-year time period beginning in 2001, North Carolina awarded an annual bonus of $1,800 to certified math, science and special education teachers working in high poverty or academically failing public secondary schools. Using longitudinal data on teachers, we estimate hazard models that identify the impact of this differential pay by comparing turnover patterns before and after the program’s implementation, across eligible and ineligible categories of teachers, and across eligible and barely-ineligible schools. Results suggest that this bonus payment was sufficient to reduce mean turnover rates of the targeted teachers by 12%. Experienced teachers exhibited the strongest response to the program. Finally, the effect of the program may have been at least partly undermined by the state’s failure to fully educate teachers regarding the eligibility criteria. Our estimates most likely underpredict the potential outcome of a program of permanent salary differentials operating under complete information.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12285

Published: Clotfelter, Charles & Glennie, Elizabeth & Ladd, Helen & Vigdor, Jacob, 2008. "Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1352-1370, June. citation courtesy of

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