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Study finds NJ teachers are underpaid

A new paper by EPI Research Associate Jeffrey Keefe finds that New Jersey’s public teachers are undercompensated, relative to similar workers in New Jersey...

Some of his findings include:

  • New Jersey public school teachers are in fact undercompensated, not overcompensated. Using regression analysis to control for level of education and other factors that affect pay, we find that public school teachers earn 16.8 percent less in weekly wages and 12.5 percent less in weekly total compensation (wages and benefits) than other full-time workers in New Jersey. The percent by which teacher pay is less than pay of comparable workers is called the teacher pay penalty. An analysis of hourly compensation shows the teacher pay penalty at 13.7 percent for wages and 9.4 percent for total compensation.
  • Female, black, and Hispanic public school teachers enjoy greater pay equity compared with the rest of the labor market in New Jersey, in part because of the transparency afforded by collective bargaining agreements. Female public school teachers earn 5.4 percent less than their male counterparts, while among other full-time workers, women earn 22.1 percent less. Blacks and Hispanics, respectively, earn 6.1 percent and 1.7 percent less than whites among public school teachers but earn 13.8 percent and 21.4 percent less among other full-time employees.
  • Teachers’ union membership in the United States produces measurable earnings improvements for union members, acting as an important counterbalance to the teacher pay penalty. Teacher union membership on average results in 13.2 percent higher wages and 13.5 percent higher total compensation for union members when compared with the compensation of public school teachers who are not union members.

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