Individual Teacher Incentives and Student Performance

28 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2006 Last revised: 4 Jul 2010

See all articles by David N. Figlio

David N. Figlio

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lawrence W. Kenny

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

This paper is the first to systematically document the relationship between individual teacher performance incentives and student achievement using United States data. We combine data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey on schools, students, and their families with our own survey conducted in 2000 regarding the use of teacher incentives. This survey on teacher incentives has unique data on frequency and magnitude of merit raises and bonuses, teacher evaluation, and teacher termination. We find that test scores are higher in schools that offer individual financial incentives for good performance. Moreover, the estimated relationship between the presence of merit pay in teacher compensation and student test scores is strongest in schools that may have the least parental oversight. The association between teacher incentives and student performance could be due to better schools adopting teacher incentives or to teacher incentives eliciting more effort from teachers; it is impossible to rule out the former explanation with our cross sectional data.

Suggested Citation

Figlio, David N. and Kenny, Lawrence W., Individual Teacher Incentives and Student Performance (October 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12627, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938953

David N. Figlio (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Lawrence W. Kenny

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

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Gainesville, FL 32611-7140
United States
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