Gansu Survey of Children and Families Papers


Centralized Deployment and Teacher Incentive: Evidence from Reforms in Rural China

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Accepted by Economic Development and Cultural Change in November 2015.


This paper studies the impact of deployment centralization on teachers’ effort and student achievement by exploring the reforms of rural education system in China. As regular teachers’ payroll was moved from xiang (or school district) up to county government in 2001, the power of deployment was gradually transferred along the same line. We exploit variations in transfer timing and use as comparison contract teachers who were not directly affected. Teacher data collected from Gansu province in 2000 and 2004 show that, the increase of regular teachers’ effort relative to contract teachers in those xiangs having centralized deployment by 2003 is smaller than those where the transfer had not occurred. Student test scores also had a smaller increase in centralization xiangs. Exploration into teacher allocation and wages suggests a likely channel: the implementation of performance pay is hindered as personnel interventions from upper-level government noises teachers performance evaluation.



Date Posted: 18 April 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.