Mitchem, Eric John (2009-05). Labor market issues for administrators: evidence from public schools in Texas. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation examines three labor market issues regarding public school administrators in Texas using personnel records from the 1994-95 school year until the 2003-04 school year. The first essay explores promotion rates of men and women to school principal, a position that requires certification. I find ignoring gender differences in desire for promotion yields results similar to the existing literature: men hold an advantage in the promotion process. However, restricting the analysis to only those individuals who have expressed interest in an administrative position, those who became trained and certified as a principal, I find men and women face no statistically significant difference in the probability of promotion. Duration analysis shows that although men are most often promoted four years after they become certified and women are most often promoted six to seven years after becoming certified, women face a much higher hazard of promotion than men. This cannot be explained by a higher exit rate from the education sector by men. The second essay examines the effect of restrictive licensing on the quality of the entrants into a profession. Theory suggests that requiring minimum competency standards truncates the low end of the quality distribution, however, increased costs of entry encourage talented potential entrants to pursue outside opportunities. Using the public school principal profession in Texas and measuring teacher quality by changes in student achievement, I find evidence that lower entry costs increase the quality of entrants. As a robustness check, I categorize observations geographically into control and treatment groups to ensure the estimated effect is a result of reduced entry costs and not unobserved factors. The third essay examines the effect of increased school choice on the earnings and abilities of school administrators. I find an overall positive effect of competition on administrators' earnings suggesting that productivity gains from hiring talented managers outweigh the pressure to reduce costs by cutting salaries. However, the results are sensitive to the level of competition, the type of labor market, and the administrators' position. I control for possible endogeneity both mechanically and with outside instruments and my conclusions are largely unchanged.

publication date

  • August 2007