Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: the Case of School Principals

43 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2012 Last revised: 27 Feb 2012

See all articles by Gregory Branch

Gregory Branch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Gregory F. Branch

University of Texas at Dallas - Texas Schools Project (TSP)

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2012

Abstract

Although much has been written about the importance of leadership in the determination of organizational success, there is little quantitative evidence due to the difficulty of separating the impact of leaders from other organizational components - particularly in the public sector. Schools provide an especially rich environment for studying the impact of public sector management, not only because of the hypothesized importance of leadership but also because of the plentiful achievement data that provide information on institutional outcomes. Outcome-based estimates of principal value-added to student achievement reveal significant variation in principal quality that appears to be larger for high-poverty schools. Alternate lower-bound estimates based on direct estimation of the variance yield smaller estimates of the variation in principal productivity but ones that are still important, particularly for high poverty schools. Patterns of teacher exits by principal quality validate the notion that a primary channel for principal influence is the management of the teacher force. Finally, looking at principal transitions by quality reveals little systematic evidence that more effective leaders have a higher probability of exiting high poverty schools.

Suggested Citation

Branch, Gregory and Branch, Gregory F. and Hanushek, Eric A. and Rivkin, Steven G., Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: the Case of School Principals (February 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w17803. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998601

Gregory Branch (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Gregory F. Branch

University of Texas at Dallas - Texas Schools Project (TSP) ( email )

Dallas, TX
United States

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
650-723-1687 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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