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A Community College Instructor like Me: Race and Ethnicity Interactions in the Classroom

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  • Fairlie, Robert W.
  • Hoffmann, Florian
  • Oreopoulos, Philip

Abstract

This paper uses detailed administrative data from one of the largest community colleges in the United States to quantify the extent to which academic performance depends on students being of similar race or ethnicity to their instructors. To address the concern of endogenous sorting, we use both student and classroom fixed effects and focus on those with limited course enrolment options. We also compare sensitivity in the results from using within versus across section instructor type variation. Given the computational complexity of the 2-way fixed effects model with a large set of fixed effects we rely on numerical algorithms that exploit the particular structure of the model’s normal equations. We find that the performance gap in terms of class dropout and pass rates between white and minority students falls by roughly half when taught by a minority instructor. In models that allow for a full set of ethnic and racial interactions between students and instructors, we find African-American students perform particularly better when taught by African-American instructors.

Suggested Citation

  • Fairlie, Robert W. & Hoffmann, Florian & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2011. "A Community College Instructor like Me: Race and Ethnicity Interactions in the Classroom," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-27, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 27 Oct 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-27
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    Cited by:

    1. Eva Feron & Trudie Schils & Bas ter Weel, 2016. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Value of the Teacher’s Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(4), pages 391-418, December.
    2. Lester Lusher & Doug Campbell & Scott Carrell, 2015. "TAs Like Me: Racial Interactions between Graduate Teaching Assistants and Undergraduates," NBER Working Papers 21568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Seth Gershenson & Stephen B. Holt & Nicholas Papageorge, 2015. "Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-231, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    4. Feron, Eva & Schils, Trudie & ter Weel, Bas, 2015. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Additional Value of Teacher Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 8768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Karthik Muralidharan & Ketki Sheth, 2016. "Bridging Education Gender Gaps in Developing Countries: The Role of Female Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 269-297.
    6. Gershenson, Seth & Jacknowitz, Alison & Brannegan, Andrew, 2015. "Are Student Absences Worth the Worry in U.S. Primary Schools?," IZA Discussion Papers 9558, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Prenovitz, Sarah J. & Cohen, Gary R. & Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Jakubson, George H., 2016. "An evaluation of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship's effect on PhD production at non-UNCF institutions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 284-295.
    8. Mohamed Arouri & Adel Ben-Youssef & Cuong Nguyen, 2016. "Ethnic and racial disparities in children's education Comparative evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Viet Nam," WIDER Working Paper Series 087, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Gershenson, Seth & Hart, Cassandra M. D. & Lindsay, Constance A. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2017. "The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers," IZA Discussion Papers 10630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Diyi Li & Cory Koedel, 2016. "Representation and Salary Gaps by Race/Ethnicity and Gender at Selective Public Universities," Working Papers 2016-13, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Apr 2017.
    11. Charles M. Becker & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Mingyu Chen, 2014. "Can a Summer Make a Difference? The Impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on Minority Student Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 20407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Pieter De Vlieger & Brian Jacob & Kevin Stange, 2017. "Measuring Instructor Effectiveness in Higher Education," NBER Chapters,in: Productivity in Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Karachiwalla, Naureen, 2013. "A teacher unlike me: Social distance, learning, and intergenerational mobility in developing countries," MPRA Paper 64439, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 May 2015.
    14. Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Hugo Ñopo & Jorge Luis Castañeda, 2012. "Equidad en la Diferencia: Políticas para la Movilidad Social de Grupos de Identidad. Misión de Movilidad Social y Equidad," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010319, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    15. Seth Gershenson & Alison Jacknowitz & Andrew Brannegan, 2017. "Are Student Absences Worth the Worry in U.S. Primary Schools?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(2), pages 137-165, Spring.
    16. Ellis, Jimmy R. & Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "LATE for the Meeting: Gender, Peer Advising, and College Success," IZA Discussion Papers 9956, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Jeffrey Penney & Erin Tolley & Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, 2016. "Race and Gender Affinities in Voting: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 1370, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    18. Vecci, Joseph & Zelinsky, Tomas, 2016. "Social Identity and Role Models," Working Papers in Economics 672, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    19. Rouse, Cecilia Elena & Chen, Mingyu, 2016. "Can a summer make a difference? The impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on minority student outcomesAuthor-Name: Becker, Charles M," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 46-71.
    20. Charles M. Becker & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Mingyu Chen, 2014. "Can a Summer Make a Difference? The Impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on Minority Student Outcomes," Working Papers 581, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    21. Mette Trier Damgaard & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Nudging in education," Economics Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    22. Holt, Stephen B. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2016. "Who believes in me? The effect of student–teacher demographic match on teacher expectationsAuthor-Name: Gershenson, Seth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 209-224.
    23. Holt, Stephen B. & Gershenson, Seth, 2015. "The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions," IZA Discussion Papers 9554, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Higher Education; Student Outcomes and Skills; Teacher and Student Interactions; Economics of Minorities and Races; Discrimination; 2-way Fixed Effect;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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