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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 6 No. 2 (April 2014)

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How Do Teachers Improve? The Relative Importance of Specific and General Human Capital

Article Citation

Ost, Ben. 2014. "How Do Teachers Improve? The Relative Importance of Specific and General Human Capital." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(2): 127-51.

DOI: 10.1257/app.6.2.127

Abstract

One of the most consistent findings in the literature on teacher quality is that teachers improve with experience, especially in the first several years. This study extends this research by separately identifying the benefits of general teaching experience and specific curriculum familiarity. I find that both specific and general human capital contribute to teacher improvement and that recent specific experience is more valuable than distant specific experience. This paper also contributes to a broader literature on human capital acquisition, as it is among the first to examine human capital specificity using a direct measure of productivity.

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Authors

Ost, Ben (U IL, Chicago)

JEL Classifications

H75: State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions
I21: Analysis of Education
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J45: Public Sector Labor Markets

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