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Subjective Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector: Evidence from School Inspections

  • Iftikhar Hussain

Performance measurement in the public sector is largely based on objective metrics, which may be subject to gaming behaviour. This paper investigates a novel subjective performance evaluation system where independent inspectors visit schools at very short notice, publicly disclose their findings and sanction schools rated fail. First, I demonstrate that inspection ratings can aid in distinguishing between more and less effective schools, even after controlling for standard observed school characteristics. Second, exploiting a natural experiment, I show that a fail inspection leads to test score gains; at least some of these gains persist in the medium term. I find no evidence to suggest that fail schools are able to inflate test score performance by gaming the system. Oversight by inspectors may play an important role in mitigating such strategic behaviour.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0135.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0135
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  1. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess, 2012. "How should we treat under-performing schools? A regression discontinuity analysis of school inspections in England," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/287, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Vouchers, Public School Response, And The Role Of Incentives: Evidence From Florida," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 500-526, 01.
  3. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2006. "Incentives for Managers and Inequality Among Workers: Evidence from a Firm Level Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2062, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Hanley Chiang, 2009. "How Accountability Pressure on Failing Schools Affects Student Achievement," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c58a3b537e324447b94a2bd41, Mathematica Policy Research.
  5. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2003. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions that Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," NBER Working Papers 10118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:mpr:mprres:6364 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
  8. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.
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