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Teacher Experience

  • By: Sean P. Corcoran & Emilyn Ruble Whitesell
  • In: Encyclopedia of Education Economics & Finance
  • Edited by: Dominic J. Brewer & Lawrence O. Picus
  • Subject:Finance/Funding/Grantwriting, Health, Education & Welfare Economics

Economists of education have long been interested in whether and how teacher experience “matters” for school productivity. In part, this interest was driven by data availability: Teacher experience was one of few school resource measures available for estimating education production functions (along with teacher salaries, degree attainment, and spending per pupil). But teacher experience is important to researchers for at least two other reasons. First, a long-established finding in labor economics is that worker productivity increases with experience, usually peaking at some point midcareer. Considerable attention has been given to estimating the analogous “returns” to experience in the classroom. Second, teacher salaries, which account for a substantial share of educational costs, are typically tied to years of experience. Understanding how teacher experience relates to ...

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