NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2018||How Does School Accountability Affect Teachers? Evidence from New York City|
Does holding schools accountable for student performance cause good teachers to leave low-performing schools? Using data from New York City, which assigns accountability grades to schools based on student achievement, I perform a regression discontinuity analysis and find evidence of the opposite effect. At the bottom end of the school grade distribution, I find that a lower accountability grade decreases teacher turnover and increases joining teachers’ quality. A likely channel is that accountability pressures induce increases in principal effort at lower-graded schools, especially among high-quality principals, and teachers value these changes. In contrast, at the top end of the school grade distribution, where accountability pressures are lower, low accountability grades may negatively ...
|Parents' Beliefs About Their Children's Academic Ability: Implications for Educational Investments|
Information about children’s school performance appears to be readily available. Do frictions prevent parents, particularly low-income parents, from acting on this information when making decisions? I conduct a field experiment in Malawi to test this. I find that parents’ baseline beliefs about their children’s academic performance are inaccurate. Providing parents with clear and digestible academic performance information causes them to update their beliefs and correspondingly adjust their investments: they increase the school enrollment of their higher-performing children, decrease the enrollment of their lower-performing children, and choose educational inputs that are more closely matched to their children’s academic level. These effects demonstrate the presence of important frictions ...
|July 2015||Governance and the Effectiveness of Public Health Subsidies|
with Pascaline Dupas, Jonathan Robinson: w21324
Heavily subsidizing essential health products through existing health infrastructure has the potential to substantially decrease child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. There is, however, widespread concern that poor governance and in particular limited accountability among health workers seriously undermines the effectiveness of such programs. We performed innovative audits on bed net distribution programs in three countries (Ghana, Kenya and Uganda) to investigate local agency problems and their determinants in the allocation of targeted subsidies. Overall, agency concerns appear modest. Around 80% of the eligible receive the subsidy as intended and leakage to the ineligible appears limited, even when the ineligible have a high willingness to pay. The estimated level of mistargeting only ...