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ERIC Number: ED510530
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 104
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Holding Accountability to Account: How Scholarship and Experience in Other Fields Inform Exploration of Performance Incentives in Education. Working Paper 2008-04
Rothstein, Richard
National Center on Performance Incentives, Paper prepared for "Performance Incentives: Their Growing Impact on American K-12 Education" (Nashville, TN, Feb 28-29, 2008)
Accountability and performance incentive plans in education are compromised by goal distortion, gaming, and corruption. Education policy makers who design such plans have paid insufficient attention to similar experiences in other fields. This paper describes institutions in health care, job training and welfare administration, and in the private sector, that employ performance incentive systems, and the perverse consequences that follow. Because of such consequences, in the private sector performance incentives rely primarily on subjective evaluations, not easily corrupted quantitative measurements. In the public sector and service professions like teaching, performance incentives run the risk of subverting the intrinsic motivation of agents. The paper notes, however, that despite goal distortion, gaming, and corruption, performance incentive plans may nonetheless improve average performance on measured dimensions. A bibliography is included. (Contains 249 endnotes.)
National Center on Performance Incentives. Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, PMB #43, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203. Tel: 615-322-5538; Fax: 615-322-6018; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Vanderbilt University, National Center on Performance Incentives
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A060034