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Working Paper No. 10-05

Choosing Where to Teach: The Effect of Teacher Quality on the Charter Versus Public School Decision
Lauren Calimeris
October 2010; revised December 2010


This paper combines restricted-use data from the 2007-2008 SASS and a disaggregated measure of teacher quality based on undergraduate institutional quality to determine where high quality teachers choose to teach. Higher quality teachers are more likely to teach at charter schools versus public schools than are lower quality teachers. This effect generally increases with quality. Among the youngest cohort of teachers, those who are of the highest quality are 11 percentage points more likely to choose a charter school than their lower quality counterparts. These findings suggest that traditional public schools may be at a growing disadvantage in attracting teachers who graduate from the best universities.

JEL classification: I21; J21; J4
Keywords: Teacher Quality; Charter Schools; Teacher Sorting; Teacher; Schools and Staffing Survey; School Choice