The Misallocation of Pay and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from the Labor Market for Teachers

61 Pages Posted: 5 May 2017

See all articles by Natalie Bau

Natalie Bau

University of Toronto

Jishnu Das

Georgetown University; Georgetown University

Date Written: May 4, 2017


This paper uses a unique dataset of both public and private sector primary school teachers and their students to present among the first estimates in a low-income country of (a) teacher effectiveness; (b) teacher value added (TVA) and its correlates; and (c) the link between TVA and teacher wages. Teachers are highly effective in our setting: Moving a student from the 5th to the 95th percentile in the public school TVA distribution would increase mean student test scores by 0.54 standard deviations. Although the first two years of experience, as well as content knowledge, are associated with TVA, all observed teacher characteristics explain no more than 5 percent of the variation in TVA. Finally, there is no correlation between TVA and wages in the public sector (although there is in the private sector), and a policy change that shifted public hiring from permanent to temporary contracts, reducing wages by 35 percent, had no adverse impact on TVA, either immediately or after 4 years. The study confirms the importance of teachers in low income countries, extends previous experimental results on teacher contracts to a large-scale policy change, and provides striking evidence of significant misallocation between pay and productivity in the public sector.

Keywords: Economics of Education, Non Governmental Organizations, Youth and Governance, Government Policies, National Governance, Economics and Institutions, Public Sector Management and Reform

Suggested Citation

Bau, Natalie and Das, Jishnu, The Misallocation of Pay and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from the Labor Market for Teachers (May 4, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8050, Available at SSRN:

Natalie Bau (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

Jishnu Das

Georgetown University ( email )

O Street
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Georgetown University ( email )

Old North, Suite 100
37th & O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics