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Teacher Sorting and Own-Race Teacher Effects in Elementary School

May 2009
Working Paper
08-036
By  Conrad Miller
I investigate "own-race teacher effects" the extent that students benefit from having a teacher with the same racial background. Own-race teacher effects may justify recruitment of underrepresented groups in teaching and, in combination with peer effects, help to determine the optimal assignment of students to teachers. However, previous estimates of own-race teacher effects are likely confounded by the sorting of teachers across schools. To circumvent this endogenous sorting, I develop and estimate a teacher-level metric of own-race teacher effects based on teacher fixed effects using administrative data from North Carolina public schools. I find that own-race teacher eects are present for mathematics achievement, but significantly smaller than previous estimates.