The Effects of the Chilean School Accountability System on Teacher Turnover

Aug 2019
This paper estimates the effects of school accountability on year-to-year teacher mobility in Chile. An accountability program was implemented between 2012 and 2015, which established sanctions for persistently low-performing schools, including the threat of closure if they failed to improve their academic outcomes after four years. Given that the classification as a low-performing school was based on the school’s relative position in a set of variables and their corresponding thresholds, we use a Multivariate Regression Discontinuity Design to evaluate the impact of the policy on teacher mobility. Our results indicate that teachers are more likely to leave schools that are labeled as low-performing. This effect appears to be relevant only when teachers can move to other schools, as we did not find any effect on the likelihood of teachers leaving the school system. The evidence suggests that less experienced teachers and those with a lower score on the college admission test are more responsive to the accountability system in Chile. Finally, we find that low-performing schools are not reacting by hiring new teachers to replace the teachers that left.