We estimate the impact of individual principals on school outcomes by using panel data that allow us to track principals over time. We find that individual principals have a substantive impact on school policies, working conditions, and student outcomes. In particular, students who attend a school that has a one standard deviation better principal improve their achievement by between 0.05 and 0.1 standard deviations. Despite rich background information on principals, it is difficult to characterize successful management, suggesting that innate skills are central. We find that the scope for discretion is larger among voucher schools and in areas with school competition.
Böhlmark, Anders, Erik Grönqvist and Jonas Vlachos (2016),
"The Headmaster Ritual: The Importance of Management for School Outcomes".
Scandinavian Journal of Economics