Broken Gears: The Value Added of Higher Education on Teachers' Academic Achievement

28 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2014

See all articles by Carlos Balcázar Salazar

Carlos Balcázar Salazar

World Bank

Hugo Ñopo

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics


A growing literature establishes that good teachers are essential for high quality educational systems. However, little is known about teachers' skills formation during their college years. In this paper we use a novel panel data set combining two standardized tests for Colombian students: one that is taken at the end of senior year in high school and the other when students are near graduation from college. Accounting for selection into majors we test for the extent to which education majors relatively improve or deteriorate their skills in comparison to students in other programs. We analyze three sets of skills: quantitative reasoning, native language (Spanish) and foreign language (English). After around 5 years of college, teachers' skills vis-à-vis those in other majors deteriorate in quantitative reasoning, although they deteriorate less for those in math-oriented programs. For native and foreign language we do not find evidence of robust changes in relative learning.

Keywords: teacher performance, career choice, self-selection, relative learning mobility

JEL Classification: I2, I21, J24

Suggested Citation

Balcazar Salazar, Carlos and Nopo, Hugo, Broken Gears: The Value Added of Higher Education on Teachers' Academic Achievement. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8477. Available at SSRN:

Carlos Balcazar Salazar (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Hugo Nopo

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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