IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Professor Like Me: Influence of Professor Gender on University Achievement


  • Hoffman, Florian
  • Oreopoulos, Philip


Many wonder whether teacher gender plays an important role in higher education by influencing student achievement and subject interest. The data used in this paper helps identify average effects from male and female university students assigned to male or female teachers. In contrast to previous work at the primary and secondary school level, our focus on large first-year undergraduate classes isolates gender interaction effects due to students reacting to instructors rather than instructors reacting to students. In addition, by focussing on university students, we examine the extent to which gender interactions may exist at later ages. We find that assignment to a same-sex instructor boosts relative grade performance and the likelihood of completing a course, but the magnitudes of these effects are small. A same-sex instructor increases average grade performance by at most 5 percent of its standard deviation and decreases the likelihood of dropping a course by 1.2 percentage points. The effects are similar when conditioning on initial ability (high school achievement), and ethnic background (mother tongue not English), but smaller when conditioning on mathematics and science courses. The effects of same-sex instructors on upper-year course selection are insignificant.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoffman, Florian & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2009. "A Professor Like Me: Influence of Professor Gender on University Achievement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 02 Feb 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2009-13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lucia Nixon & Michael Robinson, 1999. "The educational attainment of young women: Role model effects of female high school faculty," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(2), pages 185-194, May.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Holmlund, Helena & Sund, Krister, 2008. "Is the gender gap in school performance affected by the sex of the teacher," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 37-53, February.
    6. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
    7. David Neumark & Rosella Gardecki, 1998. "Women Helping Women? Role Model and Mentoring Effects on Female Ph.D. Students in Economics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 220-246.
    8. repec:pri:edures:23.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Puhani, Patrick, 2015. "Do Boys Benefit from Male Teachers in Elementary School? Evidence from Administrative Panel Data," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113167, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Jaegeum Lim & Jonathan Meer, 2015. "The Impact of Teacher-Student Gender Matches: Random Assignment Evidence from South Korea," NBER Working Papers 21407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:86-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bottia, Martha Cecilia & Stearns, Elizabeth & Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin & Moller, Stephanie & Valentino, Lauren, 2015. "Growing the roots of STEM majors: Female math and science high school faculty and the participation of students in STEM," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 14-27.
    5. Boring, Anne, 2017. "Gender biases in student evaluations of teaching," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 27-41.
    6. Danilowicz-Gösele, Kamila, 2016. ""A" is the aim?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 291, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Hisanobu Kakizawa, 2017. "The Effects of Student-Teacher Gender Matching on Students f Performance in Junior High Schools in Japan," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 17-29, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).

    More about this item


    Teacher Quality; Higher Education; Gender Role Model Effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2009-13. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vivian Tran). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.