The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance

82 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2014

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

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)

Marc Piopiunik

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation

Simon Wiederhold

Chair of Macroeconomics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2014

Abstract

International differences in teacher quality are commonly hypothesized to be a key determinant of the large international student performance gaps, but lack of consistent quality measures has precluded testing this. We construct country-level measures of teacher cognitive skills using unique assessment data for 31 countries. We find substantial differences in teacher cognitive skills across countries that are strongly related to student performance. Results are supported by fixed-effects estimation exploiting within-country between-subject variation in teacher skills. A series of robustness and placebo tests indicate a systematic influence of teacher skills as distinct from overall differences among countries in the level of cognitive skills. Moreover, observed country variations in teacher cognitive skills are significantly related to differences in women’s access to high-skill occupations outside teaching and to salary premiums for teachers.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Piopiunik, Marc and Wiederhold, Simon, The Value of Smarter Teachers: International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance (December 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20727. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535179

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

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

Marc Piopiunik

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Simon Wiederhold

Chair of Macroeconomics

Auf der Schanz 49
Ingolstadt, 85049
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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