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Do Teachers' Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Matter?: Evidence from NELS88


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  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg
  • Daniel D. Goldhaber
  • Dominic J. Brewer


Our study uses a unique national longitudinal survey, the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS), which permits researchers to match individual students and teachers, to analyze issues relating to how a teacher's race, gender, and ethnicity, per se, influence students from both the same and different race, gender, and ethnic groups. In contrast to much of the previous literature, we focus both on how teachers subjectively relate to and evaluate their students and on objectively how much their students learn. On balance, we find that teachers' race, gender, and ethnicity, per se, are much more likely to influence teachers' subjective evaluations of their students than they are to influence how much the students objectively learn. For example, while white female teachers do not appear to be associated with larger increases in test scores for white female students in mathematics and science than white male teachers 'produce', white female teachers do have higher subjective evaluations than their white male counterparts of their white female students. We relate our findings to the more general literature on gender, race, and ethnic bias in subjective performance evaluations in the world of work and trace their implications for educational and labor markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4669.

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Date of creation: Mar 1994
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 48 (April 1995): 547-561.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4669

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  1. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1992. "The Flow of New Doctorates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 830-75, June.
  2. Bretz, R.D. & Milkovick, G. & Read, W., 1992. "Performance Appraisal Research and Practice," Papers, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies 92-15, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2012. "Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina," NBER Working Papers 18624, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jee-Seon Kim & Edward Frees, 2006. "Omitted Variables in Multilevel Models," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 71(4), pages 659-690, December.
  3. Robst, John & Keil, Jack & Russo, Dean, 1998. "The effect of gender composition of faculty on student retention," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 429-439, October.
  4. Strauss, Robert P. & Bowes, Lori R. & Marks, Mindy S. & Plesko, Mark R., 2000. "Improving teacher preparation and selection: lessons from the Pennsylvania experience," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 387-415, October.


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