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Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment

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  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • van Ewijk, Reyn

Abstract

Recent studies for primary and secondary education find positive effects of the share of females in the classroom on achievement of males and females. This study examines whether these results can be extrapolated to higher education. We conduct an experiment in which the shares of females in workgroups for first year students in economics and business are manipulated and students are randomly assigned to these groups. Males tend to postpone, but not abandon, their dropout decision when surrounded by more females and perform worse on courses with high math content. There is also a modest reduction in absenteeism early in the year. Overall, however, we find no substantial gender peer effects on achievement. This in spite of the fact that according to students’ perceptions, both their own, and their peers’ behavior are influenced by the share of females.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 51-63

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:51-63

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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Keywords: Field experiment; Peer effects; Gender; University students;

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  1. Black, Sandra & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2010. "Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults," CEPR Discussion Papers 7851, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ficano, Carlena Cochi, 2012. "Peer effects in college academic outcomes – Gender matters!," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1102-1115.
  4. Han, Li & Li, Tao, 2009. "The gender difference of peer influence in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 129-134, February.
  5. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "The effect of financial rewards on students' achievement: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00078, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Ewijk, R. van & Sleegers, P., . "Peer Ethnicity and Achievement: a Meta-analysis Into the Compositional Effect," Working Papers 19, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
  7. Victor Lavy & Anal�a Schlosser, 2011. "Corrigendum: Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 268-268, July.
  8. Ost, Ben, 2010. "The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 923-934, December.
  9. Bryan S. Graham & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2009. "Complementarity and Aggregate Implications of Assortative Matching: A Nonparametric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 14860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  11. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  12. Diane Whitmore, 2005. "Resource and Peer Impacts on Girls' Academic Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 199-203, May.
  13. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2009. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 14959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Zeynep Hansen & Hideo Owan & Jie Pan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom," NBER Working Papers 12251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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