Seth Gershenson

School of Public Affairs
American University
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Washington, DC 20016-8070

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Institutional Affiliation: American University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2018Teacher Expectations Matter
with Nicholas W. Papageorge, Kyung Min Kang: w25255
We develop and estimate a joint model of the education and teacher-expectation production functions that identifies both the distribution of biases in teacher expectations and the impact of those biases on student outcomes via self-fulfilling prophecies. Our approach leverages a unique feature of a nationally representative dataset: two teachers provided their educational expectations for each student. Identification of causal effects exploits teacher disagreements about the same student, an idea we formalize using lessons from the measurement error literature. We provide novel, arguably causal evidence that teacher expectations affect students' educational attainment: Estimates suggest an elasticity of college completion with respect to teachers' expectations of about 0.12. On average,...
The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers
with Cassandra M. D. Hart, Joshua Hyman, Constance Lindsay, Nicholas W. Papageorge: w25254
We examine the impact of having a same-race teacher on students' long-run educational attainment. Leveraging random student-teacher pairings in the Tennessee STAR class-size experiment, we find that black students randomly assigned to a black teacher in grades K-3 are 5 percentage points (7%) more likely to graduate from high school and 4 percentage points (13%) more likely to enroll in college than their peers in the same school who are not assigned a black teacher. We document similar patterns using quasi-experimental methods and statewide administrative data from North Carolina. To examine possible mechanisms, we provide a theoretical model that formalizes the notion of “role model effects” as distinct from teacher effectiveness. We envision role model effects as information provision: ...
March 2015The Effect of Community Traumatic Events on Student Achievement: Evidence from the Beltway Sniper Attacks
with Erdal Tekin: w21055
Community traumatic events such as mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and natural or man-made disasters have the potential to disrupt student learning in numerous ways. For example, these events can reduce instructional time by causing teacher and student absences, school closures, and disturbances to usual classroom routines. Similarly, they might also disrupt home environments. This paper uses a quasi-experimental research design to identify the effects of the 2002 “Beltway Sniper” attacks on student achievement in Virginia’s public elementary schools. In order to identify the causal impact of these events, the empirical analysis uses a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits geographic variation in schools’ proximity to the attacks. The main results indicate that the attacks si...

Published: Seth Gershenson & Erdal Tekin, 2018. "The Effect of Community Traumatic Events on Student Achievement: Evidence from the Beltway Sniper Attacks," Education Finance and Policy, vol 13(4), pages 513-544. citation courtesy of

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