Speaker: Jishnu Das is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. More »
Abstract: We combine a unique dataset of 1,388 teachers from 471 public schools to present among the first estimates of teacher value added (TVA) and its correlates in a low income country. There are three main findings. First, teacher quality matters more for student outcomes in these contexts than in OECD countries: moving a student from a teacher in the fifth percentile to the ninety-fifth percentile would lead to a 0.85 standard deviation increase in test scores, relative to a 0.33 increase in the United States. Second, observed teacher characteristics are closely linked to teacher compensation but explain no more than 5 percent of the variation in TVA. Finally, a policy change that shifted hiring from permanent to temporary contracts and reduced wages by 49 percent had no impact on the quality of new entrants, either immediately or after 4 years, suggesting that the supply of teachers is highly inelastic at current wages. 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 suggests evidence of significant misallocation between pay and productivity in the public sector.
Paper available at the seminar.
Last Updated: Jun 08, 2015