Stereotype Threat and the Student‐Athlete

10 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2013

See all articles by Thomas S. Dee

Thomas S. Dee

Stanford University - School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2014


Achievement gaps may reflect the cognitive impairment thought to occur in evaluative settings (e.g., classrooms) where a stereotyped identity is salient (i.e., stereotype threat). This study presents an economic model of stereotype threat that reconciles prior evidence on how student effort and performance are influenced by this social‐identity phenomenon. This study also presents empirical evidence from a framed field experiment in which students at a selective college were randomly assigned to a treatment that primed their awareness of a negatively stereotyped identity (i.e., student‐athlete). This social‐identity manipulation reduced the test‐score performance of athletes relative to non‐athletes by 12%. These negative performance effects were concentrated among male student‐athletes who also responded to the social‐identity manipulation by attempting to answer more questions.

JEL Classification: I2, C9, D0

Suggested Citation

Dee, Thomas S., Stereotype Threat and the Student‐Athlete (January 2014). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 52, Issue 1, pp. 173-182, 2014, Available at SSRN: or

Thomas S. Dee (Contact Author)

Stanford University - School of Education ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-3096
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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