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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Daniel D. Goldhaber & Dominic J. Brewer, 1994. "Do Teachers' Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Matter?: Evidence from NELS88," NBER Working Papers 4669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4669
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1992. "The Flow of New Doctorates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 830-875, June.
    2. Bretz, R.D. & Milkovick, G. & Read, W., 1992. "Performance Appraisal Research and Practice," Papers 92-15, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robst, John & Keil, Jack & Russo, Dean, 1998. "The effect of gender composition of faculty on student retention," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 429-439, October.
    2. Jee-Seon Kim & Edward Frees, 2006. "Omitted Variables in Multilevel Models," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 659-690, December.
    3. 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, vol. 19(4), pages 387-415, October.
    4. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General


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