Announcement Cassandra Hart

New NBER Paper by Affiliate Cassandra Hart

Paper Abstract:

We examine the impact of having a same-race teacher on students’
long-run educational attainment.  Leveraging random
student-teacher pairings in the Tennessee STAR class-size
experiment, we find that black students randomly assigned to a
black teacher in grades K-3 are 5 percentage points (7%) more
likely to graduate from high school and 4 percentage points (13%)
more likely to enroll in college than their peers in the same
school who are not assigned a black teacher.  We document similar
patterns using quasi-experimental methods and statewide
administrative data from North Carolina.  To examine possible
mechanisms, we provide a theoretical model that formalizes the
notion of “role model effects” as distinct from teacher
effectiveness.    We envision role model effects as information
provision:  black teachers provide a crucial signal that leads
black students to update their beliefs about the returns to
effort and what educational outcomes are possible.  Using
testable implications generated by the theory, we provide
suggestive evidence that role model effects help to explain why
black teachers increase the educational attainment of black