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The Missing Link: Estimating the Impact of Incentives on Teacher Effort and Instructional Effectiveness Using Teacher Accountability Legislation Data

Tom Ahn ()

Journal of Human Capital, 2013, vol. 7, issue 3, 230 - 273

Abstract: Teacher effort, a critical component of education production, has been understudied in the literature because of measurement difficulties. I use a principal-agent model, North Carolina data, and the state's accountability system that awards cash for school-level academic growth to distill effort from teacher absence and capture its effect. I find low effort at low and high probabilities of bonus receipt, high effort when the bonus outcome is in doubt, and free-ridership. Teachers respond to incentives, and effort affects achievement. Policy simulations with individual-level incentives eliminate free-rider effects but reduce effort by pushing teachers into the tails of the probability of bonus receipt distribution.

Date: 2013
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