NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India

Karthik Muralidharan, Venkatesh Sundararaman

NBER Working Paper No. 15323
Issued in September 2009
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS   PE

Performance pay for teachers is frequently suggested as a way of improving education outcomes in schools, but the theoretical predictions regarding its effectiveness are ambiguous and the empirical evidence to date is limited and mixed. We present results from a randomized evaluation of a teacher incentive program implemented across a large representative sample of government-run rural primary schools in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The program provided bonus payments to teachers based on the average improvement of their students' test scores in independently administered learning assessments (with a mean bonus of 3% of annual pay). At the end of two years of the program, students in incentive schools performed significantly better than those in control schools by 0.28 and 0.16 standard deviations in math and language tests respectively. They scored significantly higher on "conceptual" as well as "mechanical" components of the tests, suggesting that the gains in test scores represented an actual increase in learning outcomes. Incentive schools also performed better on subjects for which there were no incentives, suggesting positive spillovers. Group and individual incentive schools performed equally well in the first year of the program, but the individual incentive schools outperformed in the second year. Incentive schools performed significantly better than other randomly-chosen schools that received additional schooling inputs of a similar value.

download in pdf format
   (421 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (421 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15323

Published: Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39 - 77. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Bordo, Eichengreen, and Irwin w7195 Is Globalization Today Really Different than Globalization a Hunderd Years Ago?
Glewwe, Ilias, and Kremer w9671 Teacher Incentives
Lazear w5672 Performance Pay and Productivity
Eissa w5023 Taxation and Labor Supply of Married Women: The Tax Reform Act of 1986 as a Natural Experiment
Cai, Chen, Fang, and Zhou w15396 Microinsurance, Trust and Economic Development: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us