Gender Bias in Teaching Evaluations

64 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2017  

Friederike Mengel

University of Essex; Maastricht University

Jan Sauermann

SOFI, Stockholm University; IZA; Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA)

Ulf Zölitz

University of Zurich; IZA Institute of Labor Economics


This paper provides new evidence on gender bias in teaching evaluations. We exploit a quasi-experimental dataset of 19,952 student evaluations of university faculty in a context where students are randomly allocated to female or male instructors. Despite the fact that neither students' grades nor self-study hours are affected by the instructor's gender, we find that women receive systematically lower teaching evaluations than their male colleagues. This bias is driven by male students' evaluations, is larger for mathematical courses and particularly pronounced for junior women. The gender bias in teaching evaluations we document may have direct as well as indirect effects on the career progression of women by affecting junior women's confidence and through the reallocation of instructor resources away from research and towards teaching.

Keywords: gender bias, teaching evaluations, female faculty

JEL Classification: J16, J71, I23, J45

Suggested Citation

Mengel, Friederike and Sauermann, Jan and Zölitz, Ulf, Gender Bias in Teaching Evaluations. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11000. Available at SSRN:

Friederike Mengel (Contact Author)

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD

Jan Sauermann

SOFI, Stockholm University ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht MD6200

Ulf Zölitz

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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