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Incentives and Effort in the Public Sector: Have U.S. Education Reforms Increased Teachers' Work Hours?

  • Christiana Stoddard
  • Peter Kuhn

Beyond some contracted minimum, salaried workers' hours are largely chosen at the worker's discretion and should respond to the strength of contract incentives. Accordingly, we consider the response of teacher hours to accountability and school choice laws introduced in U.S. public schools over the past two decades. Total weekly hours of full-time teachers have risen steadily since 1983 by about an hour, and after-school instructional hours have increased 34 percent since 1987. Average hours and the rate of increase also vary widely across states. However, after accounting for a common time trend in hours, we find no association between the introduction of accountability legislation and the change in teacher hours. We conjecture that the weak link between effort and compensation in most school reforms helps explain the lack of such an association.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11970.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11970.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Publication status: published as “Incentives and Effort in the Public Sector: Have U.S. Education Reforms Increased Teachers’ Work Hours?” Economics of Education Review 27 (1) (February 2008): 1-13 (with Christiana Stoddard)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11970
Note: ED LS
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  1. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation Of The Prevalence And Predictors Of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877, August.
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  12. Levitt, Steven D., 2002. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2wj7v1j4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  13. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
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  15. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Would School Choice Change the Teaching Profession?," NBER Working Papers 7866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hoxby, Caroline Minter, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718, August.
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