Higher Education Reform in Pakistan

Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2015.

Venue: Gulberg, Lahore.

Time: 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM

Center for Economic Research in Pakistan, Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives, Consortium for Development Policy Research in collaboration with Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) South Asia is held a seminar in the Lahore Economic Development Research Seminars (LEDRS) series:

“The Misallocation of Pay and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from the Labor Market for Teachers” by Dr. Jishnu Das (The World Bank).


The study combines a unique dataset of 1,388 teachers from 471 public schools to present among the first estimates of teacher value added (TVA) and its correlates in a low income country. There are three main findings. First, teacher quality matters more for student outcomes in these contexts than in OECD countries: moving a student from a teacher in the fifth percentile to the ninety fifth percentile would lead to a 0.69 standard deviation increase in test scores, relative to a 0.33 increase in the United States. Second, observed teacher characteristics are closely linked to teacher compensation but explain no more than 5 percent of the variation in TVA. Finally, a policy change that shifted hiring from permanent to temporary contracts and reduced wages by 49 percent had no adverse impact on the quality of new entrants, either immediately or after 4 years, suggesting that the supply of teachers is highly inelastic at current wages. The study confirms the importance of teachers in low income countries, extends previous experimental results on teacher contracts to a large-scale policy change, and provides evidence of significant misallocation between pay and productivity in the public sector.

About the speaker

Jishnu Das is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development and Public Services Team) at The World Bank and a Visiting Fellow at The Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. Jishnu’s work focuses on the delivery of basic services, particularly health and education. He has worked on the quality of health care, mental health, information in health and education markets, child learning and test-scores and the determinants of trust. His work has been published in leading economics, health and education journals and widely covered in the media and policy forums. In 2011 he was part of the core team on the World Development Report on Gender and Development. He was the Flander’s Visiting Professor at McGill University in 2015, received the George Bereday Award from the Comparative and International Education Society, the Stockholm Challenge Award for the best ICT project in the public administration category in 2006, and the Research Academy award from the World Bank in 2013. Jishnu’s research on low cost private schools was recently featured as the cover story in The Economist. The story, titled “Learning Unleashed” focused on the boom of low-cost private schools in countries across Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, using research and recent studies co-authored by CERP’s CEO Tahir Andrabi to demonstrate a shift in parents opting for private schooling rather than public education systems in these countries. He is currently working on long-term projects on health and education markets in Kenya (on patient safety), India (on Tuberculosis and primary health care) and Pakistan (on primary schooling).

About the LEDRS Seminars

The LEDRS seminars are a series of informal academic seminars with two primary purposes. First, they aim to allow Lahore-based and development economics researchers, including early-career researchers, to present work in progress in an informal setting and get constructive feedback and ideas from a larger group of colleagues beyond their own institutions. Second, they will provide a forum for visiting development economics researchers to present their research, and thus facilitate continuing exposure for Lahore-based researchers to current research topics and methods. The seminar series will also aim to strengthen links among researchers in Lahore and between Lahore-based and visiting researchers, and to generate more extensive discussion of policy implications of research and brainstorm channels for policy impact.