Do Teachers’ Labor Contracts Matter?

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This study estimates the impact of teachers' employment contracts on students' academic performance in Italy. It is the first empirical assessment ever produced in Italy investigating how students’ achievements respond to being taught by tenured/tenure-track or non-tenure-track teachers.

The analysis uses data on employment contracts and individual teachers and school characteristics from a representative sample of Italian students, matched to students’ standardized test scores in primary and secondary schools in Italy.

Geographic distribution

The geographical distribution of each type of teacher shows that those with yearly contracts are disproportionately concentrated in the Northern regions, where there is a higher demand for new teachers. These teachers are often employed to cover the absences of tenured teachers. In contrast, teachers with non-yearly contracts and tenured teachers are more evenly distributed throughout the country.









Impact on student performance

Our econometric estimates show that having a substitute teacher for less than 1 year led to significantly lower student performance, even after considering other teachers characteristics.

Additionally, the study examines the impact of various factors, such as the duration of the contract, gender, education level, age, and experience of teachers, to understand how they influence student outcomes. We found that experience plays a key role in explaining the differences in performance between substitute teachers with one year of experience and teachers with permanent contracts.







Source: Fonte: dati del Ministero dell'Istruzione italiano and Invalsi (it includes all available classes with information on teachers’characteristics in compulsory school grades - grades 2, 5, and 8 - for the academic years 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022). For further details "Do Teachers' Labor Contracts Matter?". IZA Discussion Paper No. 16380, Available at SSRN: or