Juli 2015

IZA DP No. 9202: Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations

published in: Economics of Education Review, 2016, 52, 209-224

Teachers are an important source of information for traditionally disadvantaged students. However, little is known about how teachers form expectations and whether their expectations are systematically biased. We investigate whether student-teacher demographic mismatch affects high school teachers' expectations for students' educational attainment. Using a student fixed effects strategy that exploits expectations data from two teachers per student, we find that non-black teachers of black students have significantly lower expectations than do black teachers. These effects are larger for black male students and math teachers. Our findings add to a growing literature on the role of limited information in perpetuating educational attainment gaps.