Wednesday, February 29, 2012

School Principals: Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity


Although much has been written about the importance of leadership in the determination of organizational success, there is little quantitative evidence due to the difficulty of separating the impact of leaders from other organizational components – particularly in the public sector. Schools provide an especially rich environment for studying the impact of public sector management, not only because of the hypothesized importance of leadership but also because of the plentiful achievement data that provide information on institutional outcomes.

This paper analyzes principal value-added to student achievement. It reports that the effect of significant variation in principal quality that appears to be larger for high-poverty schools.

Patterns of teacher exits by principal quality validate the notion that a primary channel for principal influence is the management of the teacher force.

Finally, looking at principal transitions by quality reveals little systematic evidence that more effective leaders have a higher probability of exiting high poverty schools.

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