Stereotype Threat, Role Models, and Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting

45 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2018 Last revised: 25 Aug 2018

Christopher Birdsall

Boise State University

Seth Gershenson

American University - School of Public Affairs

Raymond Zuniga

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Center for Public Administration and Policy

Date Written: January 17, 2018

Abstract

Ten years of administrative data from a diverse, private, top-100 law school are used to examine the ways in which female and nonwhite students benefit from exposure to demographically similar faculty in first-year required law courses. Arguably causal impacts of exposure to same-sex and same-race instructors on course-specific outcomes such as course grades are identified by leveraging conditionally random classroom assignments and a two-way (student and classroom) fixed effects strategy. Having an other-sex instructor reduces the likelihood of receiving a good grade (A or A-) by one percentage point (3%) and having an other-race instructor reduces the likelihood of receiving a good grade by three percentage points (10%). The effects of student-instructor demographic mismatch are particularly salient for nonwhite female students. These results provide novel evidence of the pervasiveness of role-model effects in elite settings and of the graduate-school education production function.

Keywords: Demographic Mismatch, Law School, Gender, Race

JEL Classification: I23, J15, J44

Suggested Citation

Birdsall, Christopher and Gershenson, Seth and Zuniga, Raymond, Stereotype Threat, Role Models, and Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting (January 17, 2018). AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 18-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3210628 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3210628

Christopher Birdsall

Boise State University ( email )

1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83716
United States

Seth Gershenson (Contact Author)

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Raymond Zuniga

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Center for Public Administration and Policy ( email )

104 Draper Road (0520)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

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