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Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools

  • Roland G. Fryer

Financial incentives for teachers to increase student performance is an increasingly popular education policy around the world. This paper describes a school-based randomized trial in over two-hundred New York City public schools designed to better understand the impact of teacher incentives on student achievement. I find no evidence that teacher incentives increase student performance, attendance, or graduation, nor do I find any evidence that the incentives change student or teacher behavior. If anything, teacher incentives may decrease student achievement, especially in larger schools. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of theories that may explain these stark results.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16850.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16850.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Publication status: published as “Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City,” 2008 [forthcoming in Journal of Labor Economics]
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16850
Note: ED LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Duflo, Esther & Hanna, Rema, 2005. "Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School," CEPR Discussion Papers 5426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Caroline M. Hoxby & Andrew Leigh, 2004. "Pulled Away or Pushed Out? Explaining the Decline of Teacher Aptitude in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 236-240, May.
  3. Cullen, Julie Berry & Jacob, Brian A. & Levitt, Steven D., 2005. "The impact of school choice on student outcomes: an analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 729-760, June.
  4. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul T. Decker & Daniel P. Mayer & Steven Glazerman, 2004. "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c8b5eb6d499c465c86a96bee4, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
  7. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery," NBER Working Papers 12145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Jonah E. Rockoff & Brian A. Jacob & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher When You Recruit One?," NBER Working Papers 14485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sean P. Corcoran & William N. Evans & Robert S. Schwab, 2002. "Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers 1957-1992," NBER Working Papers 9180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Eric P. Bettinger, 2012. "Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 686-698, August.
  12. Steven Glazerman & Allison McKie & Nancy Carey, 2009. "An Evaluation of the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) in Chicago: Year One Impact Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3b6a785529e04d5aa0e19a624, Mathematica Policy Research.
  13. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2002. "Teachers and student achievement in the Chicago public high schools," Working Paper Series WP-02-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  14. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Derek Neal, 2011. "The Design of Performance Pay in Education," NBER Working Papers 16710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Christopher Jepsen & Steven Rivkin, 2002. "What is the Tradeoff Between Smaller Classes and Teacher Quality?," NBER Working Papers 9205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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