TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Stereotype Threat, Role Models, And Demographic Mismatch At A Top 100 Law School

AccessLexChristopher Birdsall (Boise State), Seth Gershenson (American) & Raymond Zuniga (Virginia Tech), Stereotype Threat, Role Models, and Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting, AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 18-08:

Ten years of administrative data from a diverse, private, top-100 law school are used to examine the ways in which female and nonwhite students benefit from exposure to demographically similar faculty in first-year required law courses. Arguably causal impacts of exposure to same-sex and same-race instructors on course-specific outcomes such as course grades are identified by leveraging conditionally random classroom assignments and a two-way (student and classroom) fixed effects strategy. Having an other-sex instructor reduces the likelihood of receiving a good grade (A or A-) by one percentage point (3%) and having an other-race instructor reduces the likelihood of receiving a good grade by three percentage points (10%).

The effects of student-instructor demographic mismatch are particularly salient for nonwhite female students. These results provide novel evidence of the pervasiveness of role-model effects in elite settings and of the graduate-school education production function.

UpdateWant That 'A' In Law School? It Helps If Your Professor Looks Like You.

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This is interesting, but race and gender equality is a moral issue. Either you believe in it, or you don't. I'm skeptical that studies of this kind will make very much difference.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Aug 8, 2018 2:33:48 AM