Altruism or money? Reducing teacher sorting using behavioral strategies in Peru
Inequality in access to high-quality teachers is an important driver of student socioeconomic achievement gaps. This article experimentally evaluates a novel nation-wide low-cost government program aimed at reducing teacher sorting. Two behavioral strategies designed to motivate teachers to apply to job vacancies in disadvantaged schools were tested: an "Altruistic Identity" treatment arm, which primed teachers’ altruistic identity by making it more salient, and an "Extrinsic Incentives" arm, which simplified the information and increased the salience of an existing government monetary-incentive scheme rewarding teachers who work in underprivileged institutions. Both strategies are successful in triggering teacher candidates to apply to such vacancies, as well as make them more likely to be assigned to a final in-person evaluation in a disadvantaged school. The effect among high-performing teachers is larger, especially in the "Altruistic" arm. Results imply that low-cost behavioral strategies can enhance the supply and quality of professionals willing to teach in high-need areas.