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

Author

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  • Hanushek, Eric A.
  • Piopiunik, Marc
  • Wiederhold, Simon

Abstract

Differences in teacher quality are commonly cited as a key determinant of the huge international student performance gaps. However, convincing evidence on this relationship is still lacking, in part because it is unclear how to measure teacher quality consistently across countries. We use unique international assessment data to investigate the role of teacher cognitive skills as one main dimension of teacher quality in explaining student outcomes. Our main identification strategy exploits exogenous variation in teacher cognitive skills attributable to international differences in relative wages of nonteacher public sector employees. Using student-level test score data, we find that teacher cognitive skills are an important determinant of international differences in student performance. Results are supported by fixed-effects estimation that uses within-country between-subject variation in teacher skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanushek, Eric A. & Piopiunik, Marc & Wiederhold, Simon, 2014. "The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance," Discussion Papers in Economics 22032, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:22032
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruhose, Jens & Schwerdt, Guido, 2016. "Does early educational tracking increase migrant-native achievement gaps? Differences-in-differences evidence across countries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 134-154.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:uwp:jhriss:v:53:y:2018:i:3:p:553-578 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. 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).
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Cordero, José Manuel & Cristobal, Victor & Santín, Daniel, 2017. "Causal Inference on Education Policies: A Survey of Empirical Studies Using PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS," MPRA Paper 76295, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. 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.
    12. 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, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    teacher cognitive skills; student performance; instrumental variable; PIAAC; PISA;

    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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