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Incentive Strength and Teacher Productivity: Evidence from a Group-Based Teacher Incentive Pay System

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  • Scott A. Imberman

    () (Michigan State University and NBER)

  • Michael F. Lovenheim

    () (Cornell University and NBER)

Abstract

We estimate the impact of incentive strength on achievement under a group-based teacher incentive pay program. The system provides variation in the share of students in a subject-grade that a teacher instructs, which proxies for incentive strength. We find that achievement on incentivized exams, but not nonincentivized exams, improves when incentives strengthen. For the incentivized exams, we find that effects fade out monotonically as a teacher's portion of the group increases to between 20 and 30 percentage and are larger for teachers with low-achieving students. Calculations based off these estimates show modest positive effects of the program overall. © 2015 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2015. "Incentive Strength and Teacher Productivity: Evidence from a Group-Based Teacher Incentive Pay System," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 364-386, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:97:y:2015:i:2:p:364-386
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Roland Fryer & Steven Levitt & John List & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00591, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2012. "Do College-Prep Programs Improve Long-Term Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 17859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "A Little Now for a Lot Later: A Look at a Texas Advanced Placement Incentive Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
    8. Leibowitz, Arleen & Tollison, Robert, 1980. "Free Riding, Shirking, and Team Production in Legal Partnerships," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 380-394, July.
    9. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 16850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39-77.
    11. Gaynor, Martin & Pauly, Mark V, 1990. "Compensation and Productive Efficiency of Partnerships: Evidence from Medical Group Practice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 544-573, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. Alejandro J. Ganimian & Richard J. Murnane, 2014. "Improving Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: Lessons from Rigorous Impact Evaluations," NBER Working Papers 20284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mehta, Nirav, 2018. "The potential output gains from using optimal teacher incentives: An illustrative calibration of a hidden action model," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 67-72.
    4. Audra Bowlus & Eda Bozkurt & Lance Lochner & Chris Robinson, 2017. "Wages and Employment: The Canonical Model Revisited," NBER Working Papers 24069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2017. "Teacher performance pay: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 75-91.
    6. Andrea Lepine, 2016. "Teacher Incentives and Student Performance: Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2016_18, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    7. Brehm, Margaret & Imberman, Scott A. & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2017. "Achievement effects of individual performance incentives in a teacher merit pay tournament," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 133-150.
    8. Hanley Chiang & Cecilia Speroni & Mariesa Herrmann & Kristin Hallgren & Paul Burkander & Alison Wellington, "undated". "Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Final Report on Implementation and Impacts of Pay-for-Performance Across Four Years," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 568955b06a2a4b11b954dded8, Mathematica Policy Research.
    9. Alison Wellington & Hanley Chiang & Kristin Heallgren & Cecilia Speroni & Mariesa Herrmann & Paul Burkander, "undated". "Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Implementation and Impacts of Pay-for-Performance After Three Years (Final Report)," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c01a81e283374843b1d4b39ce, Mathematica Policy Research.
    10. Dahal,Mahesh & Nguyen,Quynh T., 2014. "Private non-state sector engagement in the provision of educational services at the primary and secondary levels in South Asia : an analytical review of its role in school enrollment and student achie," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6899, The World Bank.
    11. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:4:p:746-783. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentive strength; achievement; teacher; pay program; incentivized exams; nonincentivized exams; monotonically;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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