Thursday, May 30, 2013

Students' Perceptions of Teacher Biases: Experimental Economics in Schools

OUAZAD Amine, PAGE Lionel
Read the working paper
INSEAD Working Paper 2013/66/EPS revised version of 2011/88/EPS

We put forward a new experimental economics design with monetary incentives to estimate students’ perceptions of grading discrimination. We use this design in a large field experiment which involved 1,200 British students in grade 8 classrooms across 29 schools. In this design, students are given an endowment they can invest on a task where payoff depends on performance. The task is a written verbal test which is graded non anonymously by their teacher, in a random half of the classrooms, and graded anonymously by an external examiner in the other random half of the classrooms. We find significant evidence that students’ choices reflect perceptions of biases in teachers’ grading practices. Our results suggest systematic gender effects: students invest more with male teachers. Moreover, if we use the choices made with an external examiner as a benchmark, this result seems to come from two effects which complement each other: when comparing students’ choices with their teacher to those made with an external examiner, we find that male students invest less with female teachers while female students invest more with male teachers.