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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. Frederick Flyer & Sherwin Rosen, 1994. "The New Economics of Teachers and Education," NBER Working Papers 4828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
  3. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2002. "Would School Choice Change the Teaching Profession?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 846-891.
  4. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
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  6. Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Micheal Kremer, 2003. "Teacher incentives," Natural Field Experiments 00257, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Hoxby, Caroline Minter, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," NBER Working Papers 9413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
  11. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
  12. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2000. "What's in a Grade? School Report Cards and House Prices," NBER Working Papers 8019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Ladd, Helen F., 1996. "The Dallas School Accountability and Incentive Program: An Evaluation of Its Impacts on Student Outcomes," Working Papers 96-18, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  17. Levitt, Steven D., 2002. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2wj7v1j4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  18. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
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