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International Handbook on the Economics of Education

Edited by Geraint Johnes and Jill Johnes

This major Handbook comprehensively surveys the rapidly growing field of the economics of education. It is unique in that it comprises original contributions on an exceptional range of topics from a review of human capital, signalling and screening models, to consideration of issues such as educational externalities and economic growth, funding models, determinants of educational success, the educational production function, educational standards and efficiency measurement. Labour market issues such as the market for teachers and the transition of students from school to work are also explored.
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Chapter 14: The Labour Market for Teachers

Paulo Santiago


Paulo Santiago Introduction and conceptual framework The fact of, or potential for, shortfalls in the quality of the teaching workforce is a major consideration in any nation’s aspirations to attain, or maintain, an educational system of high quality. Teachers constitute the core of the educational system and their importance in student performance has been widely confirmed by many credible research studies.1 Thus the development of policies which potentially lead to the improvement of the quality of teachers and reduce the disparities in their distribution across schools is a central concern for governments. In this context, a good understanding of the functioning of the teacher labour market is imperative for teacher policy development. Key aspects include the responsiveness of teachers to incentives, the tradeoffs governments face in defining the number of teachers needed, and the role of the mechanisms which match teachers to schools. The labour market concept is used by economists to describe and explain the processes which match individuals to specific jobs in society. The analysis focuses on the determinants of labour demand and supply, and the role of the market structure which shapes the mechanisms through which demand and supply interact. The aspiration is to explain the outcomes observed, such as levels of employment and unemployment, compensation levels (for example, wages) or equity issues such as gender wage differentiation.2 The functioning of the teacher labour market determines, for a given school system, the number and characteristics of teachers, their distribution across schools, and...

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