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Students’ Perceptions of Teacher Biases: Experimental Economics in Schools

  • Amine Ouazad
  • Lionel Page
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    We put forward a new experimental economics design with monetary incentives to estimate students' perceptions of grading discrimination. We use this design in a large field experiment which involved 1,200 British students in grade 8 classrooms across 29 schools. In this design, students are given an endowment they can invest on a task where payoff depends on performance. The task is a written verbal test which is graded non anonymously by their teacher, in a random half of the classrooms, and graded anonymously by an external examiner in the other random half of the classrooms. We find significant evidence that students' choices reflect perceptions of biases in teachers' grading practices. Our results show systematic gender interaction effects: male students invest less with female teachers than with male teachers while female students invest more with male teachers than with female teachers. Interestingly, female students' perceptions are not in line with actual discrimination: Teachers tend to give better grades to students of their own gender. Results do not suggest that ethnicity and socioeconomic status play a role.

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    File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp133.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0133.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0133
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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    1. Hinnerich, Björn Tyrefors & Höglin, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2011. "Ethnic Discrimination in High School Grading: Evidence from a Field Experiment," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 733, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 19 Jan 2011.
    2. Rema Hanna & Leigh Linden, 2010. "Measuring Discrimination in Education," Working Papers id:2541, eSocialSciences.
    3. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Trust, Risk and Betrayal," Working Paper Series rwp03-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    5. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    6. Nick Feltovich & Richmond Harbaugh & Ted To, 2002. "Too Cool for School? Signalling and Countersignalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 630-649, Winter.
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