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The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance

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  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Marc Piopiunik
  • Simon Wiederhold

Abstract

International differences in teacher quality are commonly hypothesized to be a key determinant of the large international student performance gaps, but lack of consistent quality measures has precluded testing this. Using unique assessment data, we construct country-level measures of teacher cognitive skills. We find substantial differences in teacher cognitive skills across countries, and these are strongly related to student performance. Results are supported by fixed-effects estimation exploiting within-country between-subject variation in teacher skills. Observed country variations in teacher cognitive skills are significantly related to differences in women’s access to high-skilled occupations outside teaching and to salary premiums for teachers.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric A. Hanushek & Marc Piopiunik & Simon Wiederhold, 2014. "The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance," CESifo Working Paper Series 5120, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5120
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

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    3. Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 3-32, Summer.
    4. Hanushek, Eric A., 2021. "Addressing cross-national generalizability in educational impact evaluation," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    5. Jan Bietenbeck & Marc Piopiunik & Simon Wiederhold, 2018. "Africa’s Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(3), pages 553-578.
    6. Lisa Grazzini, 2016. "The Importance of the Quality of Education: Some Determinants and its Effects on Earning Returns and Economic Growth," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(2), pages 43-82.
    7. Cordero, Jose M. & Gil-Izquierdo, María, 2018. "The effect of teaching strategies on student achievement: An analysis using TALIS-PISA-link," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1313-1331.
    8. José M. Cordero & Víctor Cristóbal & Daniel Santín, 2018. "Causal Inference On Education Policies: A Survey Of Empirical Studies Using Pisa, Timss And Pirls," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 878-915, July.
    9. Tatyana Klyachko & Elena Semionova & Galina Tokareva, 2020. "School Staffing: Teachers" Perceptions," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 4, pages 232-249.
    10. Ritzen, Jo, 2020. "Public universities, in search of enhanced funding," MERIT Working Papers 2020-020, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    11. Bart H. H. Golsteyn & Stan Vermeulen & Inge Wolf, 2016. "Teacher Literacy and Numeracy Skills: International Evidence from PIAAC and ALL," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(4), pages 365-389, December.
    12. Anna Thum-Thysen & Rossella Cravetto & Jan Varchola, 2021. "Investing in People’s Competences A Cornerstone for Growth and Wellbeing in the EU," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 139, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    13. O. D. Marcenaro-Gutierrez & M. Luque & L. A. Lopez-Agudo, 2016. "Balancing Teachers’ Math Satisfaction and Other Indicators of the Education System’s Performance," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1319-1348, December.
    14. Braga, Michela & Checchi, Daniele & Scervini, Francesco & Garrouste, Christelle, 2020. "Selecting or rewarding teachers? International evidence from primary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    15. Ralph Hippe & Luisa De Sousa Lobo Borges de Araujo & Patricia Dinis Mota da Costa, 2016. "Equity in Education in Europe," JRC Working Papers JRC104595, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    16. Клячко Т. Л. & Семионова Е. А. & Токарева Г. С., 2020. "Кадровая Ситуация В Школе: Мнение Учителей," Вопросы образования // Educational Studies, НИУ ВШЭ, issue 4, pages 232-249.
    17. Eric A. Hanushek & Elizabeth Ettema, 2017. "Defining Productivity in Education: Issues and Illustrations," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 62(2), pages 165-183, October.
    18. Cordero, José Manuel & Gil, María & Pedraja Chaparro, Francisco, 2016. "Exploring the effect of financial literacy courses on student achievement: a cross-country approach using PISA 2012 data," MPRA Paper 75474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Gjefsen, Hege Marie & Gunnes, Trude, 2016. "The effects of School Accountability on Teacher Mobility and Teacher Sorting," MPRA Paper 69664, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Jens Ruhose, 2015. "Microeconometric Analyses on Economic Consequences of Selective Migration," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 61, May.
    21. Abdellatif Chatri & Otman Chahbi & Mustapha Snihji, 2021. "The multilevel analysis of students’ achievement: Evidence from Morocco," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 33(1), pages 117-129, March.
    22. De Ree,Joppe Jaitze, 2016. "How much teachers know and how much it matters in class : analyzing three rounds of subject-specific test score data of Indonesian students and teachers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7556, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    teacher cognitive skills; student performance; international comparison; PIAAC; PISA;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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