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Teacher Incentives

Author

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  • Paul Glewwe
  • Nauman Ilias
  • Michael Kremer

Abstract

Advocates of teacher incentive programs argue that they can strengthen weak incentives, while opponents argue they lead to teaching to the test.' We find evidence that existing teacher incentives in Kenya are indeed weak, with teachers absent 20% of the time. We then report on a randomized evaluation of a program that provided primary school teachers in rural Kenya with incentives based on students' test scores. Students in program schools had higher test scores, significantly so on at least some exams, during the time the program was in place. An examination of the channels through which this effect took place, however, provides little evidence of more teacher effort aimed at increasing long-run learning. Teacher attendance did not improve, homework assignment did not increase, and pedagogy did not change. There is, however, evidence that teachers increased effort to raise short-run test scores by conducting more test preparation sessions. While students in treatment schools scored higher than their counterparts in comparison schools during the life of the program, they did not retain these gains after the end of the program, consistent with the hypothesis that teachers focused on manipulating short-run scores. In order to discourage dropouts, students who did not test were assigned low scores. Program schools had the same dropout rate as comparison schools, but a higher percentage of students in program schools took the test.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Michael Kremer, 2003. "Teacher Incentives," NBER Working Papers 9671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9671
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
    2. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877.
    3. Richards, Craig E. & Sheu, Tian Ming, 1992. "The South Carolina school incentive reward program: A policy analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 71-86, March.
    4. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Teal, Francis, 2007. "Does performance related pay for teachers improve student performance? Some evidence from India," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 473-486, August.
    5. Figlio, David N. & Winicki, Joshua, 2005. "Food for thought: the effects of school accountability plans on school nutrition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 381-394, February.
    6. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1999. "Do Higher Salaries Buy Better Teachers?," NBER Working Papers 7082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Accountability, Incentives and Behavior: The Impact of High-Stakes Testing in the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 8968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lavy, Victor, 2003. "Paying for Performance: The Effect of Teachers' Financial Incentives on Students' Scholastic Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3862, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. 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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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