Performance Information and Personnel Decisions in the Public Sector: The Case of School Principals

43 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2016

See all articles by Julie Berry Cullen

Julie Berry Cullen

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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)

Gregory Phelan

University of Texas at Dallas

Steven Rivkin

University of Illinois at Chicago

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

Firms and other organizations establish the criteria under which employees will be judged and the performance measures made available to supervisors, the board of directors and other stakeholders, and these structures almost certainly influence behavior and organization outcomes. Any divergence of the chosen performance metric from an ideal measurement of productivity may lead to suboptimal outcomes, particularly in the public sector where outside interest groups may rely more heavily on easily accessible ratings than better-informed insiders. In the case of public education, federal and state accountability systems provide considerable information about student outcomes and rate schools on that basis. However, the No Child Left Behind accountability legislation’s focus on pass rates rather than learning and achievement growth introduces the possibility that inadequate information and a flawed structure each compromise public school quality. This study of school principal labor market outcomes investigates the relationship between principal labor market success and a set of performance measures that differ on the basis of accessibility to stakeholders and link with true principal productivity. The results from the empirical analysis provide evidence that information and design deficiencies introduce a lack of alignment between incentives and principal productivity and adversely affect the quality of education in Texas public schools.

Suggested Citation

Berry Cullen, Julianne (Julie) and Hanushek, Eric A. and Phelan, Gregory and Rivkin, Steven, Performance Information and Personnel Decisions in the Public Sector: The Case of School Principals (December 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22881. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880320

Julianne (Julie) Berry Cullen (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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

Gregory Phelan

University of Texas at Dallas ( email )

2601 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Steven Rivkin

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

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