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Gregory Elacqua

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 8:30am to 9:50am
Spring 2021

Altruism or Money? Reducing Teacher Sorting using Behavioral Strategies in Peru

Inequality in access to high-quality teachers is an important driver of student socioeconomic achievement gaps. We experimentally evaluate a novel nation-wide low-cost government program aimed at reducing teacher sorting. Specifically, we tested two behavioral strategies designed to induce teachers to apply to job vacancies in disadvantaged schools. These strategies consisted of an "Altruistic Identity" treatment arm, which primed teachers altruistic identity by making it more salient, and an "Extrinsic Incentives" arm, which simplified the information and increased the salience of an existing government monetary-incentive scheme rewarding teachers who work in underprivileged institutions. We show that both strategies are successful in triggering teacher candidates to apply to such vacancies, as well as making them more likely to be assigned to a final in-person evaluation in a disadvantaged school. The effect among high-performing teachers is larger, especially in the "Altruistic" arm. Our results imply that low-cost behavioral strategies can enhance the supply and quality of professionals willing to teach in high-need areas.

About Gregory Elacqua

Gregory has conducted extensive research on schools in Latin America and has also been active in the politics of educational policy reform. He is currently the Principal Economist in the Education Division at the Inter-American Development Bank. He was previously the Director of the Public Policy Institute at the School of Business and Economics at the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile. His research focuses on the economics of education, school finance, teacher policy, centralized student and teacher assignment, and the political economy of the educational system. He has also been active in the world of education policy. He was an advisor to three Ministers of Education in Chile and to a member of the Education Committee in the Chilean Senate. He has been involved in the design and implementation of education reforms in Chile and other countries in Latin America. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Princeton University.