.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
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Quantitative Economics, Volume 10, Issue 4 (November 2019)

Measuring quality for use in incentive schemes: The case of “shrinkage” estimators

Nirav Mehta


Researchers commonly “shrink” raw quality measures based on statistical criteria. This paper studies when and how this transformation's statistical properties would confer economic benefits to a utility‐maximizing decision‐maker across common asymmetric information environments. I develop the results for an application measuring teacher quality. The presence of a systematic relationship between teacher quality and class size could cause the data transformation to do either worse or better than the untransformed data. I use data from Los Angeles to confirm the presence of such a relationship and show that the simpler raw measure would outperform the one most commonly used in teacher incentive schemes.

Economics of education empirical contracts teacher incentive schemes teacher quality D81 I21 I28 J01

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