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Do higher salaries yield better teachers and better student outcomes?

Cabrera, José María and Webbink, Dinand (2018): Do higher salaries yield better teachers and better student outcomes?

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Abstract

We study the effects of a policy aimed at attracting more experienced and better qualified teachers in primary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Uruguay. Teachers in these schools could earn higher salaries. Estimates from regression discontinuity models show that the policy increased experience by two to three years. The policy was especially successful in ‘hiring experience from other schools’, but also increased tenure. However, the effect on student outcomes appears to be small. The distinction between ‘hiring or keeping’ teachers seems important for explaining this result. Keeping teachers appears to be more beneficial for students than hiring experienced teachers. We also find that the effect of the policy is better for schools that replaced teachers with less than five years of experience.

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