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Teacher Performance Pay and Student Learning: Evidence from a Nationwide Program in Peru


  • Bellés Obrero, Cristina

    (Barcelona Institute of Economics)

  • Lombardi, María

    (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)


We study the impact on student achievement of a nationwide teacher pay-for-performance program implemented in Peruvian public secondary schools in 2015. Schools compete in a tournament primarily based on 8th graders' performance in a standardized test, where the principal and teachers of the top 20 percent of schools receive a substantial bonus. We perform a difference-in-differences estimation comparing the internal grades of 8th and 9th graders of the same school, before and after the program. We find a precisely estimated zero effect on student achievement, and we reject impacts greater than 0.017 standard deviations, well below those previously found in the literature. We provide evidence against a series of potential explanations, and argue that this zero effect could be a consequence of teachers' uncertainty about how to improve their students' performance in the standardized test tied to the bonus.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellés Obrero, Cristina & Lombardi, María, 2019. "Teacher Performance Pay and Student Learning: Evidence from a Nationwide Program in Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 12600, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12600

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    Cited by:

    1. Juan F. Castro & Paul Glewwe & Ricardo Montero, 2019. "Work With What You’ve Got: Improving Teachers’ Pedagogical Skills at Scale in Rural Peru," Working Papers 158, Peruvian Economic Association.

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    More about this item


    compensation; incentives; teachers; education; Peru;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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