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The Missing Link: Estimating the Impact of Incentives on Teacher Effort and Instructional Effectiveness Using Teacher Accountability Legislation Data

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  • Tom Ahn

Abstract

Teacher effort, a critical component of education production, has been understudied in the literature because of measurement difficulties. I use a principal-agent model, North Carolina data, and the state's accountability system that awards cash for school-level academic growth to distill effort from teacher absence and capture its effect. I find low effort at low and high probabilities of bonus receipt, high effort when the bonus outcome is in doubt, and free-ridership. Teachers respond to incentives, and effort affects achievement. Policy simulations with individual-level incentives eliminate free-rider effects but reduce effort by pushing teachers into the tails of the probability of bonus receipt distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Ahn, 2013. "The Missing Link: Estimating the Impact of Incentives on Teacher Effort and Instructional Effectiveness Using Teacher Accountability Legislation Data," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 230-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/673872
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 17699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bradley, Steve & Green, Colin & Leeves, Gareth, 2007. "Worker absence and shirking: Evidence from matched teacher-school data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-334, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Seth Gershenson & Stephen B. Holt & Nicholas Papageorge, 2015. "Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-231, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. Seth Gershenson, 2016. "Performance Standards and Employee Effort: Evidence From Teacher Absences," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(3), pages 615-638, June.
    3. Brian Jacob & Jonah E. Rockoff & Eric S. Taylor & Benjamin Lindy & Rachel Rosen, 2016. "Teacher Applicant Hiring and Teacher Performance: Evidence from DC Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 22054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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