NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED513540
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 37
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Teacher Incentive Pay and Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the NYC Bonus Program. Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series. PEPG 10-07
Goodman, Sarena; Turner, Lesley
Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University, Paper prepared for the PEPG Conference "Merit Pay: Will It Work? Is It Politically Viable?" (Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA, Jun 3-4, 2010)
Teacher compensation schemes are often criticized for lacking a performance-based component. Proponents of merit pay argue that linking teacher salaries to student achievement will incentivize teachers to focus on raising student achievement and stimulate innovation across the school system as a whole. In this paper, we utilize a policy experiment conducted in the New York City public school system to explore the effects of one performance-based bonus scheme. We investigate potential impacts of group-based incentive pay over two academic years (2007-2008 and 2008-2009) on a range of outcomes including: teacher effort, student performance in math and reading, and classroom activities, measured through environmental surveys of teachers and students. We also explore impacts on the market for teachers by examining teacher turnover and the qualifications of newly hired teachers. Overall, we find the bonus program had little impact on any of these outcomes. We argue that the lack of bonus program impacts can be explained by the structure of the bonus program. Group bonuses led to free-riding, which significantly reduced the program's incentives. Once we account for free-riding, we find evidence that the program led teachers to increase their effort through a significant reduction in absenteeism. When considering the effectiveness of performance-based teacher pay, the structure of incentives matter. (Contains 11 tables, 3 figures and 24 footnotes.)
Program on Education Policy and Governance. Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Taubman 304, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard University, Program on Education Policy and Governance
Identifiers - Location: New York
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards without Reservations
IES Cited: ED536232