Assistant Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard University
We present findings from a randomized controlled program introduced by the provincial government of Punjab, Pakistan in 2010 that offers monetary incentives to teachers in 450 government primary schools (and 150 schools in the control group) in the form of annual cash bonuses linked to school performance. The bonus amount is set as a linear function of a composite score of school performance based on school level gains in enrollment and academic test, and the student participation rate in the test ( as a deterrent against potential test-pool selection by schools.) To test whether leveraging head teachers helps, the receipt and amount of the bonus for a given level of school performance were experimentally varied by whether the teacher was a head teacher or not among three groups of schools. We find that the program did not improve average PEC test scores or raise primary enrollment. We rule out changes in composition of students as the source of the null effects on test scores. We find that the program did not change retention of students or schools’ inputs. In contrast, we find positive impacts on test participation rates from all treatment groups.