We evaluate the impact of the Gambian hardship allowance, which provides a salary premium of 30-40% to primary school teachers in remote locations, on the distribution and characteristics of teachers across schools. A geographic discontinuity in the policy's implementation and the presence of common pre-treatment trends between hardship and non-hardship schools provide sources of identifying variation. We find that the hardship allowance increased the share of qualified (certified) teachers by 10 percentage points. The policy also reduced the pupil-qualified teacher ratio by 27, or 61% of the mean, in recipient schools close to the distance threshold. Further analysis suggests that these gains were not merely the result of teachers switching from non-hardship to hardship schools. With similar policies in place in more than two dozen other developing countries, our study provides an important piece of evidence on their effectiveness.
teacher labor markets rural schools Gambia program evaluation regression discontinuity