Contract Teachers and Student Achievement in Rural China: Evidence from Class Fixed Effects

24 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2018

See all articles by Wang Lei

Wang Lei

Shaanxi Normal University

Mengjie Li

Shaanxi Normal University

Siqi Zhang

Shaanxi Normal University

Yonglei Sun

Shaanxi Normal University

Sean Sylvia

Renmin University of China - School of Economics

Enyan Yang

Renmin University of China

Guangrong Ma

Peking University; Renmin University of China - School of Finance

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Di Mo

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) - LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Date Written: April 2018

Abstract

For schooling to play an important role in the development of human capital, the system of education needs to provide quality education, which among other things requires high‐quality teachers. Facing fiscal constraints and growing enrolments, school systems in developing countries often supplement their teaching staff by hiring contract teachers. However, there is limited evidence on how the effectiveness of these teachers compares to that of civil service teachers. We use a dataset from rural primary schools in western China to estimate the causal effect of contract teachers on student achievement and find that gains in student scores on standardised examinations in mathematics and Chinese are less in classes taught by contract teachers than in classes taught by civil service teachers. The results demonstrate that China's education system needs to focus on producing high‐quality teachers to improve the quality of schooling in its rural education system. The findings imply that educators in developing countries should not only seek to hire increasingly more civil service teachers in rural schools, but they should also identify ways of improving the quality of contract teachers. If efforts to improve teaching can succeed, rural students can learn more, earn higher incomes and contribute more to the productivity of the overall economy.

Keywords: China, contract teachers, primary education, student achievement

Suggested Citation

Lei, Wang and Li, Mengjie and Zhang, Siqi and Sun, Yonglei and Sylvia, Sean and Yang, Enyan and Ma, Guangrong and Zhang, Linxiu and Mo, Di and Rozelle, Scott, Contract Teachers and Student Achievement in Rural China: Evidence from Class Fixed Effects (April 2018). Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp. 299-322, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3161069 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8489.12250

Wang Lei (Contact Author)

Shaanxi Normal University

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Mengjie Li

Shaanxi Normal University

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, 710062
China

Siqi Zhang

Shaanxi Normal University

Yonglei Sun

Shaanxi Normal University

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, 710062
China

Sean Sylvia

Renmin University of China - School of Economics ( email )

No. 59, Zhongguancun Street
Beijing, Beijing 100080
China

Enyan Yang

Renmin University of China

Room B906
Xianjin Building
Beijing, Beijing 100872
China

Guangrong Ma

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Renmin University of China - School of Finance

Ming De Main Building
Renmin University of China
Beijing, Beijing 100872
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Di Mo

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) - LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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