The Oscars of Education: The Effects of a Tournament Between Public Schools
Title: The Oscars of Education: The Effects of a Tournament Between Public Schools
Abstract: Despite discussions and implementations of performance-related incentive pay for teachers, limited research exists on the medium-term effects of combining financial and non-pecuniary group incentives within the public school system. This study focuses on a yearly rank-order tournament among schools in Brazil and presents quasi-experimental evidence. By exploring the timing and eligibility criteria of the tournament, a differences-in-discontinuities design is implemented and reveals substantial improvements in student performance by their school being eligible for the prize. These effects primarily stem from schools at both ends of the performance spectrum, indicating the varying levels of incentives generated by the tournament. Furthermore, by exploring an exogenous cutoff that defines the prize winners, I document significant ex-post changes in the beliefs and behavior of teachers and students upon receiving the prize. Awarded teachers tend to implement innovative teaching methods, and students report higher learning efforts and performance.