Although there is a general consensus that teachers are important for student learning, there is little discussion of the process by which teachers are employed by schools: the teacher labour market. The authors argue, based on a mix of a priori and inductive reasoning, that inflexible attitudes about comparative wages have contributed toward chronic shortages of qualified teachers in specialised teacher labour markets and poor incentives for excellent teachers to remain teaching. Overseas studies indicate that chronic shortages occur because fewer science and mathematics graduates, compared to humanities and social science graduates, are attracted to teaching. Higher wage rates for teachers with scarce skills will alleviate shortages and reduce attrition of the most able teachers.
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