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Gender Discrimination in Exam Grading? Double Evidence from a Natural Experiment and a Field Experiment

Beatrice Schindler Rangvid


Grading bias against boys may be one of the reasons why boys underperform in school compared to girls. This study assesses the causal effect of blind grading of boys relative to girls using difference-in-differences methods and exploiting two separate identification strategies: a unique full cohort natural experiment providing exogenous variation in blind grading, and a field experiment where the exact same exam papers are scored twice (blind and non-blind). Even though the two strategies hinge on different assumptions, the results persistently suggest against the existence of systematic gender biases in non-blind evaluation. The results are robust to different model specifications.

JEL Classification: I24


The usual disclaimer applies. Thanks to the Ministry of Education for giving me access to the experimental data. I thank Paul Bingley, Mette Gørtz, Vibeke Myrup Jensen and C. Kirabo Jackson for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. The paper has also benefited from comments by seminar participants at the University of Copenhagen and The Danish National Centre for Social Research (SFI), as well as by participants at the ESPE 2017 and EALE 2018 conferences. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers whose suggestions helped improve and clarify this manuscript.


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Figure 2: Histogram of student number frequencies.

Figure 2:

Histogram of student number frequencies.

Published Online: 2019-03-09

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