We use random assignment of role models to cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point to investigate the effect of same-genderor same-race mentors on occupation choice in the United States Army. Women and racial minorities have traditionally been underrepresented in certain occupations in the Army, and these disparities seem to persist over time. We find that when a female cadet is assigned a female mentor, the cadet is 4.60 and 18.1 percentage points more likely to pick her officer's branch as her first or among her top three occupational preferences, respectively, than if she had interacted with a male mentor. These results are robust to controlling for a limited choice set for females and a host of alternative specifications. We find that black cadets paired with black officers are 6.1 percentage points more likely to pick their role model's branch than if the black cadet had worked with a white officer. These results show that having a same-gender or same-race mentor may influence the occupation choice of women or racial minorities.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 430-467
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.