Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools
Financial incentives for teachers to increase student performance is an increasingly popular education policy around the world. This paper describes a school-based randomized trial in over two-hundred New York City public schools designed to better understand the impact of teacher incentives on student achievement. I find no evidence that teacher incentives increase student performance, attendance, or graduation, nor do I find any evidence that the incentives change student or teacher behavior. If anything, teacher incentives may decrease student achievement, especially in larger schools. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of theories that may explain these stark results.
This project would not have been possible without the leadership and support of Joel Klein. I am also grateful to Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, Joanna Cannon, and Dominique West for their cooperation in collecting the data necessary for this project, and to my colleagues Edward Glaeser, Richard Holden, and Lawrence Katz for helpful comments and discussions. Vilsa E. Curto, Meghan L. Howard, Won Hee Park, Jörg Spenkuch, David Toniatti, Rucha Vankudre, and Martha Woerner provided excellent research assistance. Financial Support from the Fisher Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. The usual caveat applies. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools Roland G. Fryer Journal of Labor Economics Vol. 31, No. 2 (April 2013), pp. 373-407 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Society of Labor Economists and the NORC at the University of Chicago