Published in: Journal of Applied Econometrics 32 (2017). 643-660. (with Sander Gerritsen and Dinand Webbink)
This paper examines the causal link that runs from classroom quality to student achievement using data on twin pairs who entered the same school but were allocated to different classrooms in an exogenous way. In particular, we apply twin fixed-effects estimation to assess the effect of teacher quality on student test scores from second through eighth grade of primary education, arguing that a change in teacher quality is probably the most important classroom intervention within a twin context. In a series of estimations using measurable teacher characteristics, we find that (a) the test performance of all students improve with teacher experience; (b) teacher experience also matters for student performance after the initial years in the profession; (c) the teacher experience effect is most prominent in earlier grades; (d) the teacher experience effects are robust to the inclusion of other classroom quality measures, such as peer group composition and class size; and (e) an increase in teacher experience also matters for career stages with less labor market mobility which suggests positive returns to on the job training of teachers.