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Are Professors Worth It? The Value-added and Costs of Tutorial Instructors

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  • Feld, Jan
  • Salamanca, Nicolás
  • Zölitz, Ulf

Abstract

A substantial share of university instruction happens in tutorial sessions-small group instruction given parallel to lectures. In this paper, we study whether instructors with a higher academic rank teach tutorials more effectively in a setting where students are randomly assigned to tutorial groups. We find this to be largely not the case. Academic rank is unrelated to students' current and future performance and only weakly positively related to students' course evaluations. Building on these results, we discuss different staffing scenarios that show that universities can substantially reduce costs by increasingly relying on lower-ranked instructors for tutorial teaching.

Suggested Citation

  • Feld, Jan & Salamanca, Nicolás & Zölitz, Ulf, 2019. "Are Professors Worth It? The Value-added and Costs of Tutorial Instructors," CEPR Discussion Papers 13883, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13883
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren & David P. Sims, 2010. "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 915-943.
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    4. Jan Feld & Nicolás Salamanca & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2016. "Endophilia or Exophobia: Beyond Discrimination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(594), pages 1503-1527, August.
    5. Jan Feld & Ulf Zölitz, 2017. "Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation, and Channels of Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 387-428.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:30749073 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2014. "Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2593-2632, September.
    8. Ulf Zölitz & Jan Feld, 2017. "The effect of peer gender on major choice," ECON - Working Papers 270, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2018.
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    18. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Does Cheaper Mean Better? The Impact of Using Adjunct Instructors on Student Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 598-613, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Feld & Nicolas Salamanca & Ulf Zölitz§, 2017. "Students Are Almost as Effective as Professors in University Teaching," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2017n23, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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