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Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?

Author

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  • David N. Figlio
  • Morton O. Schapiro
  • Kevin B. Soter

Abstract

This study makes use of detailed student-level data from eight cohorts of first-year students at Northwestern University to investigate the relative effects of tenure track/tenured versus non-tenure line faculty on student learning. We focus on classes taken during a student's first term at Northwestern, and employ a unique identification strategy in which we control for both student-level fixed effects and next-class-taken fixed effects to measure the degree to which non-tenure line faculty contribute more or less to lasting student learning than do other faculty. We find consistent evidence that students learn relatively more from non-tenure line professors in their introductory courses. These differences are present across a wide variety of subject areas, and are particularly pronounced for Northwestern's average students and less-qualified students.

Suggested Citation

  • David N. Figlio & Morton O. Schapiro & Kevin B. Soter, 2013. "Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?," NBER Working Papers 19406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19406
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Liang Zhang, 2005. "Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    2. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, June.
    3. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.
    4. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Does Cheaper Mean Better? The Impact of Using Adjunct Instructors on Student Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 598-613, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "Contract Teachers: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Artés, Joaquín & Pedraja-Chaparro, Francisco & Salinas-JiméneZ, Mª del Mar, 2017. "Research performance and teaching quality in the Spanish higher education system: Evidence from a medium-sized university," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 19-29.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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