Modeling of laser-induced ionization and heating of conduction-band electrons by laser radiation frequently serves as a
basis for simulations supporting experimental studies of
laser-induced ablation and damage of solid dielectrics.
Together with band gap and electron-particle collision rate, effective electron mass is one of material parameters
employed for the ionization modeling. Exact value of the effective mass is not known for many materials frequently
utilized in experiments, e.g., fused silica and glasses. Because of that reason, value of the effective mass is arbitrary
varied around "reasonable values" for the ionization modeling. In fact, it is utilized as a fitting parameter to fit
experimental data on dependence of ablation or damage threshold on laser parameters. In this connection, we study how
strong is the influence of variations of the effective mass on the value of conduction-band electron density. We consider
influence of the effective mass on the photo-ionization rate and rate of impact ionization. In particular, it is shown that
the photo-ionization rate can vary by 2-4 orders of magnitude with variation of effective mass by 50%. Impact
ionization shows a much weaker dependence on effective mass, but it significantly enhances the variations of seed-electron
density produced by the photo-ionization. Utilizing those results, we demonstrate that variation of effective
mass by 50% produces variations of conduction-band electron density by 6 orders of magnitude. In this connection, we
discuss the general issues of the current models of laser-induced ionization.