School Characteristics and Labor Turnover: Assessing the Role of Preferences and Opportunities

Published in: Economic Journal 126 (594). (2016). 1342-1371. (with Stephane Bonhomme and Gregory Jolivet )

Job characteristics can affect worker turnover through their effect on utility and through their effect on outside job opportunities. We separately identify and estimate the roles of these two channels. Our method exploits information on job changes and relies on an augmented sample selection correction. Taking our approach to an exhaustive register of Dutch primary school teachers, and using arguably plausible exclusion restrictions, we show a detailed picture of preferences for school characteristics. We also study how preference estimates may be biased when ignoring information on job opportunities and discuss the implications for the analysis of teacher turnover.

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