Philip Gigliotti CV

Gigliotti, Philip. Leveraging Managerial Autonomy to Turn Around Low-Performing Schools:
Evidence from the Innovation Schools Program in Denver Public Schools” (National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education Working Paper. Presented at Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management fall conference 2019, Association of Education Finance and Policy spring conference 2020.)

Improving performance in struggling urban schools is one of the most persistent challenges in education. In Denver, Colorado, a program called Innovation Schools provided urban public schools with autonomy to implement comprehensive managerial and educational reform plans by waiving district policies. I evaluate the Innovation Schools reform using a difference-in-differences design and find that the program increased end of year standardized test scores by .1-.3 standard deviations in Innovation Schools. However, exploration of how these effects developed over time suggests that the early impacts of the program faded out following year 2 of implementation. These findings suggest the program was able to rapidly turn around low performing schools, but these schools struggled to sustain results. This suggests school turnaround may be possible, but schools need to sustain efforts over time to preserve results.

Innovation Schools

Gigliotti, Philip and Erika G. Martin. (2020). “Predictors of State-Level Stay-at-Home Orders in the United States and Their Association with Mobility of Residents.” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 26 (6), p. 622-631. (Presented at Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management fall conference 2020.)

In the United States, state and local governments implemented stay at home orders to mitigate COVID-19 transmission by limiting mobility to reduce frequency of exposures. This study uses Cox proportional hazard models to assess associations between timing of SHO adoption and eleven state-level measures of political dynamics, health system risk, and resources. We then use ordinary least squares regression to test associations between SHO enactment and changes in residents’ mobility as recorded by Google based on GPS tracking of mobile devices, adjusting for state-level factors. Consistent with media narratives, results suggest Republican governors were less likely to adopt SHOs, but that public health dynamics, such as cumulative COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity, also played a significant role. Results suggests that, after adjusting for state-level factors, residents in states with stay-at home orders spent significantly less time away from home. However, after adjusting for presence of a stay-at-home order and state-level factors, residents in states with high support for President Trump spent significantly more time away from home. These findings suggest that while political considerations influenced stay-at-home order adoption, public health considerations were also influential. However, while stay-at-home orders accomplished their goal of reducing mobility away from home, political ideology of residents may have compromised their effectiveness.

Gigliotti, Philip and Lucy C. Sorensen. “Illusory Effects of Performance Management: The Case of Contracts for Excellence in New York School Districts.” Public Management Review. (Presented at Association of Education Finance and Policy spring conference 2019.)

Performance management systems couple outcomes-based accountability with strong managerial reforms. While a rich literature documents the behavior of managers within these systems, literature on the performance effects of performance management is less conclusive. The Contracts for Excellence (C4E) program was a unique performance management inspired reform that contractually required 59 New York State public school districts to develop individualized plans based on “best practices” and report compliance and performance measures back to the state. This study evaluates C4E’s impact on organizational decision-making and performance using a difference-in-differences approach combined with propensity score matching. Findings point to negative or precisely estimated null effects on math and English test performance ranging from 0 to negative .14 standard deviations. Furthermore, the analysis uncovers evidence of multiple undesirable institutional responses that likely compromised the reform, such as crowding out of local revenue collection and widespread inflation of performance metrics.

Contracts for Excellence

Gigliotti, Philip “Understanding Heterogeneous Effects of Performance Management: An Application of Kroll (2015)’s Contingency Approach to Educational Accountability.” Perspectives on Public Management and Governance. (Presented at Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management Fall 2020 Conference.)

Abstract: Performance Management (PM) systems are intended to inform managerial decision-making, driving performance improvements through managerial reforms. Despite the prevalence of these reforms, they were implemented with little evidence of the assumed relationship between PM and organizational performance. There is a growing literature on this relationship but its findings are heterogeneous, requiring further contributions which can explain this heterogeneity. This review develops a theoretical framework of heterogeneous PM effects adapted from Kroll (2015) and applies it to studies of educational accountability reforms. This framework assumes that PM effects are driven by the effectiveness of an organization’s managerial response, and that organizations will adopt one of three strategies: prospecting, reacting, or gaming. The predictions of the framework are compared to three cases of K-12 educational accountability reforms that have been extensively evaluated for both performance outcomes and organizational changes. The cases demonstrate that organizational strategy, as identified by managerial response, predicts performance under accountability. This raises questions about how to predict managerial response, suggesting that managerial autonomy plays an important role.

Gigliotti, Philip and Lucy C. Sorensen. (2018). “Educational expenditures and Student Achievement: Evidence from the Save Harmless provision in New York State.” Economics of Education Review, 66, 167-182. (Presented at Association of Budgeting and Financial Management, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management fall conferences 2017, Association of Education Finance and Policy spring conference 2018.)

A long-standing debate in the economics of education literature is whether increasing educational resources moves the needle on student achievement. Education finance reformers advocate delivering extra resources to disadvantaged school districts to close academic achievement gaps, but their efforts are subject to criticism from skeptics who believe that extra resources do not actually improve performance. This study leverages variation in per-pupil expenditures from a specific provision of the state aid formula in New York State that allows districts to maintain prior levels of total state aid even as their student enrollment declines. We uncover achievement gains of approximately .047 standard deviations in math and .042 standard deviations in English corresponding to $1,000 in additional per-pupil spending. This study strengthens the case that school resources matter, and that sustained financial investments can help districts maintain and improve quality of public education.

Media coverage

Save Harmless

Yeung, Ryan, Gigliotti, Philip and Phuong Nguyen-Hoang. (2019). “The Impact of US News and World Report Ranking on College President Salary” Research in Higher Education, 60(1), 1-17.

Widespread attention to college tuition and student loan debt has resulted in increasing scrutiny of high levels of compensation for college and university administrators. Prior research has sought to identify a “pay for performance” relationship in executive compensation, but discovered no clear link between presidential salaries and performance measures. This study proposes U.S. News & World Report college rankings as a highly meaningful performance metric and employs a fixed effects regression model to determine the relationship between college rankings and presidential salary. We find a significant relationship between rank and presidential salary at public universities, but not at private universities and liberal arts colleges, consistent with an academic capitalism model.

USNews and College Presidents