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Does merit pay reward good teachers? Evidence from a randomized experiment

Author

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  • Thomas S. Dee

    (Department of Economics, Swarthmore College)

  • Benjamin J. Keys

    (Department of Economics, University of Michigan)

Abstract

A common criticism of merit-pay plans is that they fail to systematically target rewards to the most effective teachers. This study presents new evidence on this issue by evaluating data from Tennessee's Career Ladder Evaluation System and the Project STAR class-size experiment. Because the students and teachers participating in the experiment were randomly assigned, inferences about the relative quality of teachers certified by the career ladder should be unbiased. The results indicate that Tennessee's career ladder had mixed success in rewarding teachers who increased student achievement. Assignment to career-ladder teachers increased mathematics scores by roughly 3 percentile points but generally had smaller and statistically insignificant effects on reading scores. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas S. Dee & Benjamin J. Keys, 2004. "Does merit pay reward good teachers? Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 471-488.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:23:y:2004:i:3:p:471-488
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20022
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dale Ballou & Michael Podgursky, 1996. "Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number tptq, November.
    2. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    3. Cooper, Samuel T. & Cohn, Elchanan, 1997. "Estimation of a frontier production function for the South Carolina educational process," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 313-327, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Finn Christensen & James Manley & Louise Laurence, 2011. "The Allocation of Merit Pay in Academia: A Case Study," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(2), pages 1548-1562.
    2. Jesse Rothstein, 2007. "Do Value-Added Models Add Value? Tracking, Fixed Effects, and Causal Inference," Working Papers 1036, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    3. Finn Christensen & James Manley & Louise Laurence, 2010. "The Allocation of Merit Pay in Academia," Working Papers 2010-13, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2010.
    4. Alejandro Ome V., 2012. "The Effects of Meritocracy for Teachers in Colombia," INFORMES DE INVESTIGACIÓN 010260, FEDESARROLLO.
    5. Michael J. Podgursky & Matthew G. Springer, 2007. "Teacher performance pay: A review," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 909-950.
    6. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2016. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 225-250, Summer.
    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. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    9. Peterson, Paul E. & Llaudet, Elena, 2006. "On the Public-Private School Achievement Debate," Working Paper Series rwp06-036, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    10. Nick Manning & Zahid Hasnain & Jan Henryk Pierskalla, 2012. "Public Sector Human Resource Practices to Drive Performance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25489, The World Bank.
    11. Gary King & Emmanuela Gakidou & Nirmala Ravishankar & Ryan T. Moore & Jason Lakin & Manett Vargas & Martha María Téllez-Rojo & Juan Eugenio Hernández Ávila & Mauricio Hernández Ávila & Héctor Hernánde, 2007. "A “politically robust” experimental design for public policy evaluation, with application to the Mexican Universal Health Insurance program," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 479-506.
    12. Atkinson, Adele & Burgess, Simon & Croxson, Bronwyn & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Slater, Helen & Wilson, Deborah, 2009. "Evaluating the impact of performance-related pay for teachers in England," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 251-261, June.
    13. Hasnain, Zahid & Manning, Nick & Pierskalla Henryk, 2012. "Performance-related pay in the public sector : a review of theory and evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6043, The World Bank.
    14. Surajeet Chakravarty & Miltiadis Makris, 2012. "Designing Incentives under Multidimensional Performance Measures," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(4), pages 687-711, December.
    15. Belfield, Clive R. & Heywood, John S., 2008. "Performance pay for teachers: Determinants and consequences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 243-252, June.
    16. repec:pri:cepsud:159rothstein is not listed on IDEAS

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