Individual teacher incentives and student performance

David N. Figlio, Lawrence W. Kenny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper is the first to systematically document the relationship between individual teacher performance incentives and student achievement using the United States data. We combine data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey on schools, students, and their families with our own survey conducted in 2000 regarding the use of teacher incentives. This survey on teacher incentives has unique data on frequency and magnitude of merit raises and bonuses, teacher evaluation, and teacher termination. We find that test scores are higher in schools that offer individual financial incentives for good performance. Moreover, the estimated relationship between the presence of merit pay in teacher compensation and student test scores is strongest in schools that may have the least parental oversight. The association between teacher incentives and student performance could be due to better schools adopting teacher incentives or to teacher incentives eliciting more effort from teachers; it is impossible to rule out the former explanation with our cross sectional data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-914
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume91
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Keywords

  • Incentive systems
  • Merit pay
  • Student performance
  • Teacher incentives
  • Teacher salaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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