The demand for teacher characteristics in the market for child care: Evidence from a field experiment

Casey Boyd-Swan, Chris Herbst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper sheds light on two key issues regarding the demand for teacher characteristics in the market for center-based child care. First, we study the extent to which teacher qualifications—often considered important inputs to classroom quality—are valued by providers during the hiring process. We then examine the impact of state regulations on hiring decisions. To do so, a resume audit study was administered in which job-seeker characteristics were randomly assigned to resumes that were submitted in response to real child care job postings in 14 U.S. cities. Our results indicate that center-based providers may not hire the most qualified applicants. For example, we find that although providers have a strong preference for individuals with previous work experience in early childhood education (ECE), those with more ECE experience are less likely to receive an interview than those with less experience. We also find that individuals with bachelor's degrees in ECE are no more likely to receive an interview than their counterparts at the associate's level. Our analysis of state regulations shows that they strongly influence teacher hiring decisions. We find that providers' advertised job requirements are largely in compliance with the state standards for teachers' experience and education. In addition, providers are substantially more likely to interview job-seekers who meet these requirements. Given that most providers voluntarily exceed the state regulations, a tentative conclusion is that such rules have a limited effect on child care supply and prices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-202
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Public Economics
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Child care
  • Child care labor markets
  • Child care regulations
  • Early childhood education
  • Resume audit study
  • Teacher hiring practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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