Rotterdam Brown Bag Seminars General Economics

Maria Cotofan (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Wednesday, 14 March 2018

I design a field experiment to study how repeated public recognition impacts the short and long run performance of school teachers.  I define the top performing employees based on teacher value added to the student grades. After 4 months of recording performance, in a randomly selected half of the schools, the top performing employees are praised in an on-line message posted on the school messaging board. The message is observed by all staff, students and parents. Following the first round of intervention, I monitor changes in the teacher performance throughout the remainder of the academic year and repeat the intervention twice more. I analyze the effect of public praise on teacher performance, for both recipients and non-recipients of recognition. Performance is measured by (i) student grades, (ii) student attendance and (iii) student performance on high stake standardized exams. In preliminary results, I find that when their teachers are praised, students perform significantly better in the coming weeks. Teachers who are not praised but observe their colleagues receiving recognition, witness a drop in performance. The competing underlying mechanisms that could drive teacher behavior in the field are discussed.