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Is the gender gap in school performance affected by the sex of the teacher

  • Holmlund, Helena
  • Sund, Krister

Girls outperform boys in school. We investigate whether the gender performance gap can be attributed to the fact that the teacher profession is female dominated, that is, is there a causal effect on student outcomes from having a same-sex teacher? Using data on uppersecondary school students and their teachers from the municipality of Stockholm, Sweden, we find that the gender performance differential is larger in subjects where the share of female teachers is higher. We argue, however, that this effect can not be interpreted as causal, mainly due to teacher selection into different subjects and nonrandom student-teacher matching. Exploring the fact that teacher turnover and student mobility give rise to variation in teacher’s gender within student and subject, we estimate the effect on student outcomes of changing to a teacher of the same sex. We find no strong support for our initial hypothesis that a same-sex teacher improves student outcomes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 37-53

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:15:y:2008:i:1:p:37-53
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Sara J. Solnick, 1995. "Changes in women's majors from entrance to graduation at women's and coeducational colleges," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 505-514, April.
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  3. David Neumark & Rosella Gardecki, 1996. "Women Helping Women? Role-Model and Mentoring Effects on Female Ph.D. Student in Economics," NBER Working Papers 5733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Sara J. Solnick, 1995. "Changes in Women's Majors from Entrance to Graduation at Women's and Coeducational Colleges," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 505-514, April.
  13. Donna S. Rothstein, 1995. "Do female faculty influence female students' educational and labor market attainments?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 515-530, April.
  14. Brandice J. Canes & Harvey S. Rosen, 1995. "Following in Her Footsteps? Faculty Gender Composition and Women's Choices of College Majors," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 486-504, April.
  15. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Do Faculty Serve as Role Models? The Impact of Instructor Gender on Female Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 152-157, May.
  16. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 8741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Lang, Kevin, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-82, May.
  19. Donna S. Rothstein, 1995. "Do Female Faculty Influence Female Students' Educational and Labor Market Attainments?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 515-530, April.
  20. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel D. Goldhaber & Dominic J. Brewer, 1995. "Do Teachers' Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Matter? Evidence from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 547-561, April.
  21. Victor Lavy, 2004. "Do Gender Stereotypes Reduce Girls' Human Capital Outcomes? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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