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The effect of gender and race on student performance in principles of economics: the importance of personality type

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Do women and minorities perform more poorly in economics courses than their white male counterparts? There are a number of studies that indicate that they do (Siegfried, 1979; Ferber, et al., 1983; Lumsden and Scott, 1987; Gohmann and Specter, 1989; Watts and Lynch, 1989; Anderson, et al., 1994). In addition, there are some studies that indicate that students' personality types adversely affect their performance in economics courses, as well (Borg and Shapiro, 1996; Zeigert, 2000). However, no one has yet studied how a student's personality type combines with race and gender to affect performance in economics courses. To explore this issue, this study tests for the statistical significance of a number of interaction effects between race and gender and the Kiersey-Bates temperament types in an ordered probit model explaining a student's grade in Principles of Macroeconomics. It is concluded that race and gender do matter in a student's performance in Principles of Macroeconomics, but not in a simple, direct way. Race and gender combine with temperament type to form more subtle, interactive effects on a student's probability of success in economics. In our particular sample of 119 students at the University of North Florida, female NF and NT students and non-white NT students performed more poorly in Principles of Macroeconomics than their counterparts who did not have these gender/temperament or race/temperament combinations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 20 March 2002

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