Grantee Research

The Effects of Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



diverse campus environment, faculty diversity


Ten years of administrative data from a diverse, private, top-100 law school are used to examine the ways in which female and nonwhite students benefit from exposure to demographically similar faculty in first-year, required law courses. Arguably, causal impacts of exposure to same-sex and same-race instructors on course-specific outcomes such as course grades are identified by leveraging quasi-random classroom assignments and a two-way (student and classroom) fixed effects strategy. Having an other-sex instructor reduces the likelihood of receiving a good grade (A or A–) by 1 percentage point (3 percent) and having an other-race instructor reduces the likelihood of receiving a good grade by 3 percentage points (10 percent). The effects of student–instructor demographic mismatch are particularly salient for nonwhite and female students. These results provide novel evidence of the pervasiveness of demographic-match effects and of the graduate school education production function.