Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools

41 Pages Posted: 20 May 2018

See all articles by Daniel O. Gilligan

Daniel O. Gilligan

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Naureen Karachiwalla

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Ibrahim Kasirye

Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda

Adrienne Lucas

University of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics

Derek A. Neal

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

In low-income countries, primary school students often fall far below grade level and primary dropout rates remain high. Further, in some countries, educators encourage their weaker students to drop out before reaching the end of primary school. These educators hope to avoid the negative attention that authorities direct to a school when its students perform poorly on the primary leaving exams that governments use to certify primary completion and eligibility for secondary school. We report the results of an experiment in rural Uganda that sought to reduce dropout rates in grade six and seven by offering bonus payments to grade six teachers that rewarded each teacher for the performance of each of her students relative to comparable students in other schools.Teachers responded to this Pay for Percentile (PFP) incentive system in ways that raised attendance rates two school years later from .56 to .60. These attendance gains were driven primarily by outcomes in treatment schools that provide textbooks for grade six math students, where two-year attendance rates rose from .57 to .64. In these same schools, students whose initial skills levels prepared them to use grade six math texts enjoyed significant gains in math achievement. We find little evidence that PFP improved attendance or achievement in schools without books even though PFP had the same impact on reported teacher effort in schools with and without books. We conjecture that teacher effort and books are complements in education production and document several results that are consistent with this hypothesis.

Keywords: achievement, dropout, educational triage, incentives, Uganda, complements in education production, teaching at the right level

JEL Classification: I0, J3, O1

Suggested Citation

Gilligan, Daniel O. and Karachiwalla, Naureen and Kasirye, Ibrahim and Lucas, Adrienne and Neal, Derek Allen, Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11516. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3181108

Daniel O. Gilligan (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K St., NW
Washington, DC 20006-1002
United States
202-862-8146 (Phone)
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Naureen Karachiwalla

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Ibrahim Kasirye

Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda ( email )

Plot 51 Pool Road
PO Box 7841
Kampala
Uganda

Adrienne Lucas

University of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics ( email )

419 Purnell Hall
Newark, DE 19716
United States

Derek Allen Neal

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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