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Incentives and Effort in the Public Sector: Have U.S. Education Reforms Increased Teachers' Work Hours?

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  • Christiana Stoddard
  • Peter Kuhn

Abstract

Beyond some contracted minimum, salaried workers' hours are largely chosen at the worker's discretion and should respond to the strength of contract incentives. Accordingly, we consider the response of teacher hours to accountability and school choice laws introduced in U.S. public schools over the past two decades. Total weekly hours of full-time teachers have risen steadily since 1983 by about an hour, and after-school instructional hours have increased 34 percent since 1987. Average hours and the rate of increase also vary widely across states. However, after accounting for a common time trend in hours, we find no association between the introduction of accountability legislation and the change in teacher hours. We conjecture that the weak link between effort and compensation in most school reforms helps explain the lack of such an association.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11970.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Publication status: published as “Incentives and Effort in the Public Sector: Have U.S. Education Reforms Increased Teachers’ Work Hours?” Economics of Education Review 27 (1) (February 2008): 1-13 (with Christiana Stoddard)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11970

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  1. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Accountability, Incentives and Behavior: The Impact of High-Stakes Testing in the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 8968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  3. Ladd, Helen F., 1999. "The Dallas school accountability and incentive program: an evaluation of its impacts on student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-16, February.
  4. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2005. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours Among U.S. Men, 1979-2004," NBER Working Papers 11895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
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  11. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Would School Choice Change the Teaching Profession?," NBER Working Papers 7866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
  13. Murnane, Richard J. & Levy, Frank, 2001. "Will Standards-Based Reforms Improve the Education of Students of Color?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 2), pages 401-16, June.
  14. Hoxby, Caroline Minter, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718, August.
  15. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation Of The Prevalence And Predictors Of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877, August.
  16. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
  17. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
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