Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Christopher 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.
Update: Want That 'A' In Law School? It Helps If Your Professor Looks Like You.