Discrimination Goes to School? Racial Differences in Performance Assessments by Teachers

Marcos A. Rangel, University of Chicago and University of Sao Paulo
Fernando B. Botelho, Princeton University
Ricardo Madeira, University of Sao Paulo

Recent literature suggests that observed racial differentials in labor market outcomes are a result of lower investment in the accumulation of skills or of pre-market factors by individuals of African descent. If parents and children update investment decisions after extracting from school reports signals regarding scholastic abilities, differential errors in perceived aptitude could either generate or reinforce racial gaps in the accumulation of human capital. Evidence drawn from a unique data set from Brazilian elementary, middle and high-schools suggest that teachers’ assessments (when compared with blindly scored tests of proficiency) suffer from cardinal and ordinal biases associated with a child’s race.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 113: Racial and Ethnic Inequality