State Intervention and Contract Choice in the Public Teacher Labor Market

March 2009

This paper was prepared for the National Center for Teacher Quality's TR3 Research Competition Finals and presented at their March 26, 2009 conference in Washington, D.C.

The paper exploits variation across states in education policies and labor laws to identify differences in teacher contract choice at the local level, and finds relatively small variances in contract outcomes within the state on wage and time use provisions, but considerably more within-state variance on provisions governing teacher evaluations and seniority rules. These findings suggest there is more local discretion in the latter set of outcomes. Further, it finds significant effects of both policy decisions and collective bargaining on contract provisions across various sets of outcomes. The evidence presented here suggests a strong interrelation between various aspects of the labor contract, which has largely been ignored in the previous literature on teacher contracts.

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