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Rawlsian versus Utilitarian: Teachers' Incentives and the Distribution of Student Performance

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By using the test score of the least able student in a classroom as the objective function (Rawlsian optimum), this paper examines the implications for teachers' incentives and compares them with the objective that uses the average test score of all the students in a classroom (utilitarian optimum). We show that for certain human-capital production functions and teachers' effort cost functions, the Rawlsian optimum yields at least the same average human capital as the utilitarian optimum, but that the resulting distribution of human capital under the former is more equitable than that under the latter.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2018

This article was made available online on 15 January 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Rawlsian versus Utilitarian: Teachers' Incentives and the Distribution of Student Performance".

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  • Founded as Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft in 1844.

    As one of the oldest journals in the field of political economy, the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) deals traditionally with the problems of economics, social policy, and their legal framework. JITE is listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, the Social Science Citation Index, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, and COREJ.

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    From 2013 on all accepted articles are published in an Online First version (in their final layout) to make them searchable and citable by their DOI immediately after peer review and acceptance. Once the article is published in an issue of the journal, the Online First version will be removed.

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