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The Design of Performance Pay in Education

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  • Derek Neal

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the design of incentive schemes in education while reviewing empirical studies that evaluate performance pay programs for educators. Several themes emerge. First, it is difficult to use one assessment system to create both educator performance metrics and measures of student achievement. To mitigate incentives for coaching, incentive systems should employ assessments that vary in both format and item content. Separate no-stakes assessments provide more reliable information about student achievement because they create no incentives for educators to take hidden actions that contaminate student test scores. Second, relative performance schemes are rare in education even though they are more difficult to manipulate than systems built around psychometric or subjective performance standards. Third, assessment-based incentive schemes are mechanisms that complement rather than substitute for systems that promote parental choice, e.g. vouchers and charter schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Derek Neal, 2011. "The Design of Performance Pay in Education," NBER Working Papers 16710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16710
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Long-Term Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 10713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Victor Lavy, 2009. "Performance Pay and Teachers' Effort, Productivity, and Grading Ethics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1979-2011, December.
    4. Atkinson, Adele & Burgess, Simon & Croxson, Bronwyn & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Slater, Helen & Wilson, Deborah, 2009. "Evaluating the impact of performance-related pay for teachers in England," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 251-261, June.
    5. Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2008. "School vouchers and student achievement: recent evidence, remaining questions," Working Paper Series WP-08-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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    8. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Figlio, David & Loeb, Susanna, 2011. "School Accountability," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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    13. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor & Roger Aliaga Diaz, 2004. "Do school accountability systems make it more difficult for low-performing schools to attract and retain high-quality teachers?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 251-271.
    14. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Woo, Seokjin & Lee, Soohyung & Kim, Kyunghee, 2015. "Carrot and stick?: Impact of a low-stakes school accountability program on student achievement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 195-199.
    2. Jones, Michael D., 2013. "Teacher behavior under performance pay incentives," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 148-164.
    3. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2017. "Teacher performance pay: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 75-91.
    4. Lockheed, Marlaine E., 2014. "Teacher opinions on performance incentives : evidence from the Kyrgyz Republic," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6752, The World Bank.
    5. Brehm, Margaret & Imberman, Scott A. & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2017. "Achievement effects of individual performance incentives in a teacher merit pay tournament," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 133-150.
    6. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Steven D. Levitt & John List & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ferreyra, Maria Marta & Liang, Pierre Jinghong, 2012. "Information asymmetry and equilibrium monitoring in education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 237-254.
    8. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    9. Martorell, Paco & Miller, Trey & Santibañez, Lucrecia & Augustine, Catherine H., 2016. "Can incentives for parents and students change educational inputs? Experimental evidence from summer school," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 113-126.
    10. Jalava, Nina & Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Pellas, Elin, 2015. "Grades and rank: Impacts of non-financial incentives on test performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 161-196.
    11. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Overview of the symposium on performance pay for teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 391-393, June.
    12. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 16850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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