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Professor Qualities and Student Achievement


  • Florian Hoffmann

    (Department of Economics, University of Toronto)

  • Philip Oreopoulos

    (Department of Economics, University of Toronto)


This paper analyzes the importance of teacher quality at the college level. Instructors are matched to objective and subjective characteristics of teacher quality to estimate the impact of rank, salary, and perceived effectiveness on student performance and subject interest. Student and course fixed effects, time of day and week controls, and students' lack of knowledge about first-year instructors help minimize selection biases. Subjective teacher evaluations perform well in measuring instructor influences on students, while objective characteristics such as rank and salary do not. Overall, the importance of college instructor differences is small, but important outliers exist. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "Professor Qualities and Student Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 83-92, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:1:p:83-92

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Liang Zhang, 2005. "Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    2. George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
    3. repec:fth:prinin:366 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
    5. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    6. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    7. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
    8. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Working Papers 745, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    9. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
    10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    11. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2005. "Principals as Agents: Subjective Performance Measurement in Education," NBER Working Papers 11463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education


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