One of the longstanding political debates in the United States concerns public education; no matter what changes we make to the system, there always seem to be plenty of problems to fix. Hiring high quality teachers and regularly evaluating them is a major issue in particular. In 2010, a group of economists set out to tweak the educational system using financial incentives. They designed a research study with the goal of improving teacher performance, and thereby student performance, by motivating the teachers with big cash bonuses.
Of course, cash bonuses as a job incentive are nothing new. But the interesting part of the study was the unconventional method that the economists used to administer the bonuses. Of the 150 teachers that participated in the study, half received their bonuses at the end of the school year based on t...
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