Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I present three chapters in the field of Economics of Education. The first chapter, "Diversity and Team Production: Evidence from Teaching Using a Large Scale Randomized Experiment", examines interaction effects between the teacher incentive pay program and the extent of racial diversity in the teacher workforce. The study shows that the effects of financial incentives on students’ reading achievement are growing with racial/ethnic diversity of the teacher composition. Mutual monitoring is proposed as the mechanism for this finding. The result lends support to increasing racial diversity in the teacher workforce.

In the second chapter, "The Relationship between Race-Congruent Students and Teachers: Does Racial Discrimination Exist?", I study how the interactions with teachers of the same race/ethnicity affect student non-cognitive and cognitive outcomes. I find that minority students tend to have a closer and more positive relationship with their teachers than white students when they are taught by a minority teacher. The results suggest that the favorable teacher-reported relationships with students are not prompted by teachers favoring their own kind or discriminating against opposite-race students. I further show that the estimated favorable impacts are driven by minority students reacting positively when they have a minority teacher but adversely once assigned to a white teacher. This finding implies that increasing the representation of minority teachers could reduce the racial achievement gap.

The third chapter, "Shedding Light on Maternal Education and Child Health in Developing Countries", explores inter-generational effects of maternal education on child health within the context of developing countries. The chapter shows that mother’s education is positively associated with child health measured by height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-forage. The mechanism analyses reveal that these favorable effects could be attributed to fertility behavior, assortative matching, health care utilization, access to information, health knowledge, and labor market outcome. Given the broad context across space (covering 68 developing countries) and time (spanning nearly three decades), these findings underline the importance of maternal education in achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health) in the developing world.



Committee Chair

Mocan, H. Naci



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