NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Lester R. Lusher

Department of Economics
University of California, Davis
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NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2015TAs Like Me: Racial Interactions between Graduate Teaching Assistants and Undergraduates
with Doug Campbell, Scott Carrell: w21568
Over the past 40 years, higher education institutions in the U.S. have experienced a dramatic shift in the racial composition of students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Using administrative data from a large, diverse university in California, we identify the extent to which the academic outcomes of undergraduates are affected by the race/ethnicity of their graduate student teaching assistants (TAs). To overcome selection issues in course taking, we exploit the timing of TA assignments, which occur after students enroll in a course, and we estimate models with both class and student fixed effects. Results show a positive and significant increase in course grades when students are assigned TAs of a similar race/ethnicity. These effects are largest in classes where TAs ...
 
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