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Prof. Barbara Biasi Wins American Economic Association Award for Research on Teacher Salary Structures

In a 2021 paper published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Biasi found that flexible pay structures in public school districts attract accomplished educators and improve student performance.

Barbara Biasi

Barbara Biasi, assistant professor of economics, has won a 2024 Best Paper Award from the American Economic Association (AEA) for a paper on public education salary structures, “The Labor Market for Teachers under Different Pay Schemes.”

The AEA’s Best Paper Awards highlight outstanding work published by the organization’s several journals over the past three years. Biasi’s paper appeared in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy in 2021.

In the United States, public school teacher salaries are usually determined through seniority. Biasi’s paper examines the impact of a 2011 Wisconsin law which ended the requirement for school districts to bargain salaries with teachers’ unions and instead allowed them to negotiate directly with individual teachers.

Focusing on districts that adopted a flexible pay model after the passage of this law, Biasi found that compensation based on performance “raised the salaries of high-quality teachers, attracted accomplished teachers from other districts, and improved student achievement.”

Biasi, who joined the Yale SOM faculty in 2018 after earning her PhD at Stanford University, studies labor economics and applied microeconomics, with a focus on education and creativity. In her other recent research, she considers the links between mental health and career outcomes, as well as the effects of copyright policies on the diffusion of scientific knowledge.

Read more about the research in Yale Insights.