Stereotype threat and the student-athlete

Thomas Dee
Economic Inquiry
Publication year: 

Achievement gaps may reflect the cognitive impairment thought to occur in evaluative settings (e.g., classrooms) where a stereotyped identity is salient (i.e., stereotype threat). This study presents an economic model of stereotype threat that reconciles prior evidence on how student effort and performance are influenced by this social-identity phenomenon. This study also presents empirical evidence from a laboratory experiment in which students at a selective college were randomly assigned to a treatment that primed their awareness of a stereotyped identity (i.e., student-athlete). This treatment reduced the test-score performance of athletes relative to non-athletes by 14 percent (effect size = -1.0).