The Dynamic Effects of Educational Accountability

49 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2014 Last revised: 2 Jun 2022

See all articles by Hugh Macartney

Hugh Macartney

Duke University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2014


This paper provides the first evidence that value-added education accountability schemes induce dynamic distortions. Extending earlier dynamic moral hazard models, I propose a new test for ratchet effects, showing that classroom inputs are distorted less when schools face a shorter horizon over which they can influence student performance. I then exploit grade span variation using rich educational data to credibly identify the extent of dynamic gaming, finding compelling evidence of ratchet effects based on a triple-differences approach. Further analysis indicates that these effects are driven primarily by effort distortions, with teacher reallocations playing a secondary role.

Suggested Citation

Macartney, Hugh, The Dynamic Effects of Educational Accountability (February 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19915, Available at SSRN:

Hugh Macartney (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics