Incentive to Discriminate? An Experimental Investigation of Teacher Incentives in India

57 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2009 Last revised: 26 Apr 2011

See all articles by Tarun Jain

Tarun Jain

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad

Tulika Narayan

Abt Associates, Inc.

Date Written: April 20, 2011

Abstract

We address the challenge of designing performance-based incentive schemes for schoolteachers. When teachers specialize in different subjects in a society with social prejudice, performance-based pay that depends on the average of student performance can cause teachers to coordinate their effort on high status students. Laboratory experiments conducted in India with future teachers as subjects show that performance-based pay causes teachers to decrease effort in low caste Hindu students compared to upper caste Hindu or Muslim students. We observe greater effort and lower variation in an incentive design where teachers are penalized if students receive zero scores.

Keywords: Teacher incentives, Laboratory experiments, Coordination games, Discrimination

JEL Classification: C92, I22, I28, J15

Suggested Citation

Jain, Tarun and Narayan, Tulika, Incentive to Discriminate? An Experimental Investigation of Teacher Incentives in India (April 20, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1435818 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1435818

Tarun Jain (Contact Author)

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad ( email )

Tulika Narayan

Abt Associates, Inc. ( email )

55 Wheeler Street
Cambridge, MA 02138-1168
United States

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