Altruism and Burnout: Long Hours in the Teaching Profession

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dora Gicheva, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This article explores why many public school teachers work substantially more hours than required by contract, given that the elasticity of their earnings with respect to their hours is close to zero. The author introduces a theoretical framework for public-sector employees in which high levels of effort can indicate either altruism (for intrinsically motivated employees) or low productivity (for low-ability employees). Because intrinsically motivated employees derive higher utility from working in the public sector, they are less likely to exit it. Over time, selection makes high levels of effort more strongly predictive of altruism than of low ability. Findings show that teachers with very low levels of experience exhibit little or no relationship between weekly hours and the probability of remaining in teaching. This correlation becomes more positive as teaching experience increases. Similarly, the level of work hours is positively related to self-reported burnout at low levels of experience, but the relationship is reversed for teachers who have been in the profession longer.

Additional Information

ILR Review, 75(2). 427-457
Language: English
Date: 2022
intrinsic motivation, working hours, teachers, public-sector labor markets

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