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Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India

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  • Karthik Muralidharan
  • Venkatesh Sundararaman

Abstract

The large-scale expansion of primary schooling in developing countries has led to the increasing use of non-civil-service contract teachers who are hired locally by the school, are not professionally trained, have fixed-term renewable contracts, and are paid much lower salaries than regular civil-service teachers. This has been a controversial policy, but there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of contract teachers in improving student learning. We present experimental evidence on the impact of contract teachers using data from an 'as is' expansion of contract-teacher hiring across a representative sample of 100 randomly-selected government-run rural primary schools in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. At the end of two years, students in schools with an extra contract teacher performed significantly better than those in comparison schools by 0.16σ and 0.15σ, in math and language tests respectively. Contract teachers were also much less likely to be absent from school than civil-service teachers (18% vs. 27%). Combining the experimental reduction in school-level pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) induced by the provision of an extra contract teacher, with high-quality panel data estimates of the impact of reducing PTR with a regular civil-service teacher, we show that contract teachers are not only effective at improving student learning outcomes, but that they are no less effective at doing so than regular civil-service teachers who are more qualified, better trained, and paid five times higher salaries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19440.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19440

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References

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  1. Jishnu Das & Stefan Dercon & James Habyarimana & Pramila Krishnan & Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "School Inputs, Household Substitution, and Test Scores," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 29-57, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Paul W. Glewwe & Eric A. Hanushek & Sarah D. Humpage & Renato Ravina, 2011. "School Resources and Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: A Review of the Literature from 1990 to 2010," NBER Working Papers 17554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Alice Ng'ang'a & Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Scaling-up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2012. "School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools," NBER Working Papers 17939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sonja Fagernäs & Panu Pelkonen, 2012. "Preferences and skills of Indian public sector teachers," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-31, December.
  5. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Darío Maldonado & Catherine Rodríguez, 2012. "Calidad de la Educación Básica y Media en Colombia: Diagnóstico y Propuestas," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 010321, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  6. Sonja Fagernäs & Panu Pelkonen, 2011. "Whether to Hire Local Contract Teachers? Trade-off Between Skills and Preferences in India," SERC Discussion Papers, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE 0083, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  7. Toppo, Mary Rajnee & Manjhi, Ganesh, 2011. "Burnout among para-teachers in India," MPRA Paper 43507, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 20 Dec 2012.
  8. Paul Atherton and Geeta Kingdon, 2010. "The relative effectiveness and costs of contract and regular teachers in India," Economics Series Working Papers, University of Oxford, Department of Economics CSAE WPS/2010-15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Abeberese, Ama Baafra & Kumler, Todd J. & Linden, Leigh L., 2011. "Improving Reading Skills by Encouraging Children to Read: A Randomized Evaluation of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Reading Program in the Philippines," IZA Discussion Papers 5812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Jenny Aker, 2013. "Scaling Up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," Working Papers, Center for Global Development 321, Center for Global Development.

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