“Direct and Indirect Impact of Charter Schools' Entry on Traditional Public Schools: New Evidence from North Carolina,” Economics Letters (2014), [Final draft (PDF)]
[Abstract] Although school choice programs have played a key role in public education reform in the United States for years, the impact of competition between schools on student achievement remains unclear. This study analyzes the effects of introducing charter schools on students at neighboring traditional public schools. Unlike prior work, which estimates the effects at the school level, I examine the impact of charter schools at the grade level by exploiting the fact that charter schools expand their grade ranges over time. By focusing on gaps in grades between charter schools and traditional schools, I define direct impact on traditional-school students in overlapping grades and indirect impact on those in non-overlapping grades. Using student-level panel data from North Carolina, this study shows that the entry of charter schools does not induce any significant indirect impact but generates a positive and significant direct impact on student achievement. This study also demonstrates that such positive effects would have been significantly undervalued in prior studies, since they do not distinguish between the two distinct impacts.
“The Effects of a Teacher Performance-Pay Program on Student Achievement: A Regression Discontinuity Approach,” Economics Bulletin (2016).
“How Does School Choice Improve Students’ Performance? Estimating School-level Competitive Effects and Student-level Peer Effects.”
[Abstract] While a number of papers estimated the effects of school choice programs on students, few studies have examined how those programs affect students' performance. In this study, I argue that the effects of school choice programs consist of competitive effects between schools and peer effects among students. By controlling for unobserved peer characteristics, I demonstrate that one-quarter of the positive impact of school choice is driven by the competitive effects while three-quarters result from the peer effects.
“To Introduce or Not To Introduce Monetary Bonuses: The Cost of Repealing Teacher Incentives”
[Abstract] Teacher performance-pay programs are designed, in part, to solve moral hazard. A series of empirical studies have found that the introduction of monetary incentives for teachers significantly increased teacher effort and student achievement in developing countries, as policymakers intended. However, other studies show that such effects are less clear in the U.S. Furthermore, little is known about the potentially negative effects of removing cash incentives.
This paper exploits novel legislation in North Carolina, where the state government first reduced (from $1,500 to $750 per year) and finally repealed its teacher incentive bonuses. Using these exogenous policy changes, this study presents empirical evidence that student achievement at low-performing schools (1) significantly decreased after the reduction in bonuses and (2) further decreased after the repeal of the incentive program. These findings illustrate that, once incentives are introduced, reducing or removing them would come with substantial detriment to lower-performing schools.