Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools

Author(s): Alberto F Alesina, Michela Carlana, Eliana La Ferrara and Paolo Pinotti

Publication Date: February 2019

Keyword(s): bias in grading, IAT, immigrants, implicit stereotypes and teachers

Programme Area(s): Development Economics and Public Economics

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.

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Bibliographic Reference

Alesina, A, Carlana, M, La Ferrara, E and Pinotti, P. 2019. 'Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.