Teacher turnover in relation to comparable professions: Evidence from a repeated cross-sectional design

Thomas Goldring:

An important issue in education policy is whether the national rate of teacher turnover in the U.S. is higher than expected. A study by Harris and Adams [Harris, D. N. and Adams, S. J. (2007). Understanding the level and causes of teacher turnover: A comparison with other professions. Economics of Education Review] compares teach- ers to arguably similar vocational professions, including nursing, social work, and accounting. In this paper I build upon Harris and Adams (2007) by conducting a repeated cross-sectional analysis of teacher turnover in relation to other professions. I find that the rate of teacher turnover has remained strikingly stable over time at around 8 percent and exhibits less variation than comparable professions. Teachers and nurses share similar rates of turnover. A decline in the labor force leaver rate among older teachers approaching retirement explains a small decrease in the overall turnover rate between 2001 and 2017.