NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Teacher Performance and Accountability Incentives

Hugh Macartney, Robert McMillan, Uros Petronijevic

NBER Working Paper No. 24747
Issued in June 2018
NBER Program(s):Program on Children, Economics of Education Program, Labor Studies Program, Public Economics Program

This paper documents a new empirical regularity: teacher value-added increases within-teacher when accountability incentives are strengthened. That finding motivates a strategy to separate value-added into incentive-varying teacher effort and incentive-invariant teacher ability, combining rich longitudinal data with exogenous incentive-policy variation. Our estimates indicate that teacher effort and ability both raise current and future test scores, with ability having stronger effects. These estimates feed into a framework for comparing the cost-effectiveness of alternative education policies. For illustration, we show incentive-oriented reforms can outperform policies targeting teacher ability, given their potential to influence all teachers rather than a subset.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24747

 
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