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Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools

Author

Listed:
  • Gilligan, Daniel O.

    () (International Food Policy Research Institute)

  • Karachiwalla, Naureen

    () (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute)

  • Kasirye, Ibrahim

    () (Economic Policy Research Centre)

  • Lucas, Adrienne

    () (University of Delaware)

  • Neal, Derek

    () (University of Chicago)

Abstract

In low-income countries, primary school students often fall far below grade level and primary dropout rates remain high. Further, in some countries, educators encourage their weaker students to drop out before reaching the end of primary school. These educators hope to avoid the negative attention that authorities direct to a school when its students perform poorly on the primary leaving exams that governments use to certify primary completion and eligibility for secondary school. We report the results of an experiment in rural Uganda that sought to reduce dropout rates in grade six and seven by offering bonus payments to grade six teachers that rewarded each teacher for the performance of each of her students relative to comparable students in other schools. Teachers responded to this Pay for Percentile (PFP) incentive system in ways that raised attendance rates two school years later from .56 to .60. These attendance gains were driven primarily by outcomes in treatment schools that provide textbooks for grade six math students, where two-year attendance rates rose from .57 to .64. In these same schools, students whose initial skills levels prepared them to use grade six math texts enjoyed significant gains in math achievement. We find little evidence that PFP improved attendance or achievement in schools without books even though PFP had the same impact on reported teacher effort in schools with and without books. We conjecture that teacher effort and books are complements in education production and document several results that are consistent with this hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilligan, Daniel O. & Karachiwalla, Naureen & Kasirye, Ibrahim & Lucas, Adrienne & Neal, Derek, 2018. "Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 11516, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11516
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
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    4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    5. Gadi Barlevy & Derek Neal, 2012. "Pay for Percentile," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1805-1831, August.
    6. Sylvie Moulin & Michael Kremer & Paul Glewwe, 2009. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 112-135, January.
    7. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39-77.
    8. Campbell, Donald T., 1979. "Assessing the impact of planned social change," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 67-90, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    achievement; dropout; educational triage; incentives; Uganda; complements in education production; teaching at the right level;

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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