Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools

48 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2018

See all articles by Alberto F. Alesina

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michela Carlana

Harvard Kennedy School

Eliana La Ferrara

University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Paolo Pinotti

Bocconi University - BAFFI Center on International Markets, Money, and Regulation

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 25, 2018

Abstract

If individuals become aware of their stereotypes, do they change their behavior? We study this question in the context of teachers’ bias in grading immigrants and native children in middle schools. Teachers give lower grades to immigrant students compared to natives who have the same performance on standardized, blindly-graded tests. We then relate differences in grading to teachers’ stereotypes, elicited through an Implicit Association Test (IAT). We find that math teachers with stronger stereotypes give lower grades to immigrants compared to natives with the same performance. Literature teachers do not differentially grade immigrants based on their own stereotypes. Finally, we share teachers’ own IAT score with them, randomizing the timing of disclosure around the date on which they assign term grades. All teachers informed of their stereotypes before term grading increase grades assigned to immigrants. Revealing stereotypes may be a powerful intervention to decrease discrimination, but it may also induce a reaction from individuals who were not acting in a biased way.

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Carlana, Michela and La Ferrara, Eliana and Pinotti, Paolo, Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools (November 25, 2018). HKS Working Paper No. RWP18-040. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3295948 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3295948

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8388 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michela Carlana (Contact Author)

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Eliana La Ferrara

University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER) ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy
+39 02 5836 3328 (Phone)
+39 02 5836 3302 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Paolo Pinotti

Bocconi University - BAFFI Center on International Markets, Money, and Regulation ( email )

Milano, 20136
Italy

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