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Discrimination in Grading


  • Rema N. Hanna
  • Leigh L. Linden


We report the results of an experiment that was designed to test for discrimination in grading in India. We recruited teachers to grade exams. We randomly assigned child "characteristics" (age, gender, and caste) to the cover sheets of the exams to ensure that there is no relationship between these observed characteristics and the exam quality. We find that teachers give exams that are assigned to be lower caste scores that are about 0.03 to 0.08 standard deviations lower than those that are assigned to be high caste. The teachers' behavior appears consistent with statistical discrimination. (JEL I21, J13, O15, O17, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Rema N. Hanna & Leigh L. Linden, 2012. "Discrimination in Grading," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 146-168, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:146-68 Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.4.146

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
    2. Banerjee, Biswajit & Knight, J. B., 1985. "Caste discrimination in the Indian urban labour market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 277-307, April.
    3. Banerjee, Abhijit & Bertrand, Marianne & Datta, Saugato & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2009. "Labor market discrimination in Delhi: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 14-27, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lavy, Victor & Sand, Edith, 2015. "On The Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers’ Stereotypical Biases," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1085, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Richard Chisik, 2015. "Job market signalling, stereotype threat and counter-stereotypical behaviour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(1), pages 155-188, February.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Karachiwalla, Naureen, 2013. "A teacher unlike me: Social distance, learning, and intergenerational mobility in developing countries," MPRA Paper 64439, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 May 2015.
    5. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj & Urmimala Sen, 2017. "Cultural Identities and Resolution of Social Dilemmas," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2017-08, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    6. Terrier, Camille, 2015. "Giving a little help to girls? evidence on grade discrimination and its effect on students' achievement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61696, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Di Liberto, Adriana & Casula, Laura, 2016. "Teacher Assessments versus Standardized Tests: Is Acting "Girly" an Advantage?," IZA Discussion Papers 10458, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela, 2015. "Job Loss at Home: Children's School Performance During the Great Recession in Spain," CEP Discussion Papers dp1364, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Holt, Stephen B. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2016. "Who believes in me? The effect of student–teacher demographic match on teacher expectationsAuthor-Name: Gershenson, Seth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 209-224.
    10. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:86-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Gershenson, Seth & Holt, Stephen B. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2015. "Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 9202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Camille Terrier, 2015. "Giving a Little Help to Girls? Evidence on Grade Discrimination and its Effect on Students' Achievement," CEP Discussion Papers dp1341, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    13. Ruiz-Valenzuela, Jenifer, 2015. "Job loss at home: children’s school performanceduring the Great Recession in Spain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63804, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Subha Mani & Saurabh Singhal & Smriti Sharma & Utteeyo Dasgupta, 2016. "Caste differences in behaviour and personality Evidence from India," WIDER Working Paper Series 060, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Tojerow, Ilan, 2016. "In God We Learn? Religions' Universal Messages, Context-Specific Effects, and Minority Status," IZA Discussion Papers 10077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Girard, Victoire, 2018. "Don’t Touch My Road. Evidence from India on Affirmative Action And Everyday Discrimination," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-13.
    17. Amy Ellen Schwartz & Douglas Almond & Ajin Lee, 2016. "Retention Heterogeneity in New York City Schools," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 198, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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