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Ethnicity and academic success at university


  • Bai Juhong
  • Tim Maloney


Differences in academic performance at university across several ethnic groups are examined using information from the transcripts of over 3,000 students at a large urban university. Both Grade Point Average (GPA) and the discontinuation of initial areas of study are used as indicators of academic success. Our results show that self-reported ethnic identification is a significant factor in explaining variations in university grades. Observed background factors are unable to account for the substantial differences in GPA and dropout rates between minority and majority ethnic groups. Individual GPA is the single most important determinant of dropout behaviour, with poor grades accounting for higher dropout rates among minority groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Bai Juhong & Tim Maloney, 2006. "Ethnicity and academic success at university," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 181-213.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:nzecpp:v:40:y:2006:i:2:p:181-213
    DOI: 10.1080/00779954.2006.9558560

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhaoyi Cao & Tim Maloney, 2017. "Decomposing Ethnic Differences in University Acedemic Achievement in New Zealand," Working Papers 2017-02 Classification-I2, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    2. Lisa Meehan & Gail Pacheco & Zoe Pushon, 2017. "Explaining ethnic disparities in bachelor’s degree participation: Evidence from NZ," Working Papers 2017-03 Classification-JE, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    3. Stephen Hickson, 2010. "The Impact of Question Format in Principle of Economics Classes: Evidence from New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 10/10, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Pengfei Jia & Tim Maloney, 2014. "Using Predictive Modelling to Identify Students at Risk of Poor University Outcomes," Working Papers 2014-03, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.

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