The literature expects public service motivation (PSM) to affect performance, but most of the existing studies of this relationship use subjective performance data and focus on output rather than outcome. This article investigates the association between PSM and the performance of Danish teachers using an objective outcome measure (the students’ academic performance in their final examinations). Combining survey data and administrative register data in a multilevel data set, we are able to control very robustly for the specific characteristics of the students (n = 5,631), the schools (n = 85), and other teacher characteristics (n = 694) besides PSM. We find that PSM is positively associated with examination marks. The result indicates that PSM may be relevant for performance improvements.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2014, Vol 24, Issue 3, p. 651-671