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“Model minorities” in the classroom? Positive evaluation bias towards Asian students and its consequences

Ying Shi and Maria Zhu

Journal of Public Economics, 2023, vol. 220, issue C

Abstract: The fast-growing demographic group of Asian Americans is often perceived as a “model minority.” This paper establishes empirical evidence of this stereotype in the context of education and then analyzes its consequences. We show that teachers rate Asian students’ academic skills more favorably than observationally similar White students in the same class, even after accounting for test performance and behavior. This contrasts with teachers’ lower likelihood of favoring Black and Hispanic students. Notably, teachers respond to the presence of any Asian student in the classroom by widening Black-White and Hispanic-White assessment gaps. This suggests that the “model minority” stereotype can negatively impact other minority groups despite its ostensibly positive connotation.

Keywords: Teacher evaluation; Racial bias; Asian Americans (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2023.104838

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