Bad Teacher(s)

Seema Jayachandran has a new paper in the JDE called “Incentives to Teach Badly: After-School Tutoring in Developing Countries.”  I’ve heard anecdotal tales of this phenomena in developing countries and it certainly seems plausible, but it is exciting that someone is testing whether it is actually true.  Sadly, it seems to be true, at least in Nepal.  Here is the abstract:

Schools in developing countries frequently offer for-profit tutoring to their own students. This potentially gives teachers a perverse incentive to teach less during school to increase demand for their tutoring. Through this mechanism, the market for tutoring can adversely affect student learning, especially for students who do not participate in tutoring. I model and present empirical evidence on these effects, using survey and test score data from Nepal. The evidence suggests that when schools offer for-profit tutoring, teachers teach less during the regular school day. As a consequence, performance on the national secondary-school exam appears to suffer among students with a low propensity to enroll in tutoring. An implication is that discouraging teachers from tutoring their own students or reducing entry barriers for third-party tutors could increase student achievement.

2 thoughts on “Bad Teacher(s)

  1. I didn’t look at the paper (not worth paying $40.00 right now), but a problem with prohibiting teachers from tutoring is they may opt to still teach less and do something else to make up the lost income. This could result in teachers not showing up at all, where the tutoring could give them an incentive to at least be present during the official school day.

    Of course, one can lose the remainder of one’s sanity trying to work through what-if unintended consequences.

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