Abstract

This paper analyzes the importance of teacher quality at the college level. Instructors are matched to objective and subjective characteristics of teacher quality to estimate the impact of rank, salary, and perceived effectiveness on student performance and subject interest. Student and course fixed effects, time of day and week controls, and students' lack of knowledge about first-year instructors help minimize selection biases. Subjective teacher evaluations perform well in measuring instructor influences on students, while objective characteristics such as rank and salary do not. Overall, the importance of college instructor differences is small, but important outliers exist.

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