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School Accountability and Teacher Mobility (WP-10-06)

Li Feng, David Figlio and Tim Sass

This paper presents the first causal evidence on the effects of school accountability systems on teacher labor markets. The researchers exploit a 2002 change in Florida's school accountability system that exogenously shocked some schools to higher accountability grades and others to lower accountability grades, and measure whether teachers in shocked schools are more or less likely to move. Using microdata from the universe of Florida public school teachers, they find strong evidence that accountability shocks influence the teacher labor market; specifically, teachers are more likely to leave schools that have been downward shocked—especially to the bottom grade—and they are less likely to leave schools that have been upward shocked. They also find that accountability shocks influence the distribution of the measured quality of teachers (in terms of value added measures) who stay and leave their school, though the average differences are not large.

Li Feng, Assistant Professor of Finance and Economics, Texas State University

David Figlio, Professor of Education & Social Policy and Economics, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Tim Sass, Professor of Economics, Florida State University

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