Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If merit pay is introduced for teachers, will we see more male teachers?

Men are more likely than women to seek jobs in which competition with coworkers affects pay rates, a preference that might help explain persistent pay differences between men and women, a study at the University of Chicago shows.
Advertisements were listed on internet job boards in 16 of the nation's largest cities.
“When the salary potential was most dependent on competition, men were 94 percent more likely to apply than women,” List said.
The study found that although women were much less likely to pursue jobs where individual competition was a factor, the deterring effect on women could be overcome by having workers compete in teams, rather than individually.
Teacher merit pay would be based on comparative performance, which might act as a draw to attract more men to careers in education.


  1. The bonuses would have to be pretty significant to have any impact. I've worked in two sectors that have paltry performance-based bonuses - higher ed and healthcare - and in both sectors, people mainly laughed at the bonuses. I think you would also have to provide a LOT more autonomy and freedom before you would see more men entering the field. In fact, I suspect that low stake bonuses - small amounts tied to following the rules - would tend to be more attractive to women. That is certainly what happens in healthcare.
    Honestly, the approach that I posted yesterday - good pay, professionalism, respect, time to work with ones colleagues, demanding preparation - those are the things that will bring good men and good women into the field.

  2. Hmm, paltry bonuses might not attract men? I could see that.

    As you say, there simply may be other features of the teaching profession that would continue to keep men away.

  3. Interesting---

    Didn't Hoxby also find that women with high grades or SAT scores (don't remember which) tended to leave the field due to wage compression?