Does Public School Competition Affect Teacher Quality?

Eric A. Hanushek
Steven G. Rivkin
Caroline Minter Hoxby
Published Date
The Economics of School Choice
Chicago: University of Chicago Press
pp. 23-47
Under most conceivable scenarios of expanded choice, even with private school vouchers, the public school system will still remain the majority supplier of schooling. Therefore, it is important to know what might happen to quality and outcomes in the remaining public schools. This paper examines the effect of public school competition on academic achievement. The empirical analysis has two major components. First, estimates of average school quality differences in metropolitan areas across Texas are compared to the amount of public school competition in each. Second, the narrower impact of metropolitan area competition on teacher quality is investigated. Because teacher quality has been identified as one of the most important determinants of student outcomes, it is logical to believe that the effects of competition on hiring, retention, monitoring, and other personnel practices would be one of the most important aspects of any force toward improving public school quality. The results, while far from conclusive, suggest that competition raises teacher quality and improves the overall quality of education.