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Given the important role that school district administrators play in the educational process, one might expect their 'performance" to be of fundamental importance in determining both how much students learn and the cost of public education to taxpayers. Yet, while public debate has considered the issue of merit pay plans for teachers, virtually no attention has been directed to the methods by which school administrators are compensated.

This paper provides evidence on whether school superintendents are explicitly or implicitly rewarded for their "performance" by higher compensation and/or greater opportunities for mobility. We analyze panel data from over 700 school districts in New York State during the 1978-79 to 1982-83 period. Measures of performance are defined and then entered into salary level, salary change, and mobility equations. While evidence is provided that school superintendents are rewarded for "performance", the magnitude of the rewards appear to be quite small.


Suggested Citation
Ehrenberg, R. G., Chaykowski, R. P., & Ehrenberg, R. A. (1986). Merit pay for school superintendents? (NBER Working Paper Series No. 1954) [Electronic version]. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

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© University of Chicago Press. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.