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Task-specific experience and task-specific talent: Decomposing the productivity of high school teachers

Author

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  • Cook, Jason B.
  • Mansfield, Richard K.

Abstract

We use administrative panel data to decompose worker performance into components relating to general talent, task-specific talent, general experience, and task-specific experience. We consider the context of high school teachers, in which tasks consist of teaching particular subjects in particular tracks. Using the timing of changes in the subjects and difficulty levels to which teachers are assigned to provide identifying variation, we show that a substantial part of the productivity gains to teacher experience are actually subject-specific. Similarly, while three-quarters of the variance in the permanent component of productivity among teachers is portable across subjects and levels, there exist non-trivial subject-specific and level-specific components. Counterfactual simulations suggest that maximizing the test-score contribution of task-specific experience and task-specific talent can increase student performance by as much as .04 test score standard deviations relative to random assignment of teachers to classrooms.

Suggested Citation

  • Cook, Jason B. & Mansfield, Richard K., 2016. "Task-specific experience and task-specific talent: Decomposing the productivity of high school teachers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 51-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:140:y:2016:i:c:p:51-72
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.04.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pieter De Vlieger & Brian Jacob & Kevin Stange, 2018. "Measuring Instructor Effectiveness in Higher Education," NBER Chapters,in: Productivity in Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:368-377 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. DeAngelo, Gregory & Owens, Emily G., 2017. "Learning the ropes: General experience, task-Specific experience, and the output of police officers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 368-377.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Task-specific human capital; Teacher experience; Teacher value-added; Teacher quality;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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