Since 1970, the number of teachers per student rose while teacher quality apparently eroded. A model of school and voter decisions shows that an increase in the skill price for women may induce schools to hire additional teachers rather than better quality teachers. Estimation results indicate that the price of skill and alternative wage had offsetting effects on the teacher-pupil ratio. Increased demand for education therefore resulted in larger teacher-student ratios. In contrast, both the skill price and the alternative wage reduced teacher quality. Increased demand for education did not outweigh the combined price effect, and teacher quality fell. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
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