A range of proposals aim to reform teacher compensation, recruitment, and retention. Teachers have generally not embraced these policies. One potential explanation for their objections is that teachers are relatively risk averse. We examine this hypothesis using a risk-elicitation task common to experimental economics. By comparing preferences of new teachers with those entering other professions, we find that individuals choosing to teach are significantly more risk averse. This suggests that the teaching profession may attract individuals who are less amenable to certain reforms. Policy-makers should take into account teacher risk characteristics when considering reforms that may clash with preferences.
Bowen, D., Buck, S., Deck, C., Mills, J., and Shuls J. (2015). “Risky Business: an Analysis of Teacher Risk Preferences,” Education Economics 23(4), 470-480. DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2014.966062
Taylor & Francis