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Gender, Expectations, And Grades In Introductory Microeconomics At A Us University


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  • Charles Ballard
  • Marianne Johnson


Previous studies have documented a gender gap in the study of economics in Canada, the UK, and the US. One important factor may be women's low expectations about their ability to succeed in economics courses. Women in our sample expect to do less well than men in an introductory microeconomics course, even after controlling for variables relating to family background, academic experience, and mathematics experience. These expectations are partly self-fulfilling, since expected grades have an important and positive effect on class performance. We also find that having taken an economics course in secondary school actually has a negative effect on performance. We observe this negative effect for women and men, but it is more pronounced for women. When we control for both expectations and secondary-school experience with economics, the independent effect of gender is small and insignificant.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 95-122

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:11:y:2005:i:1:p:95-122

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Keywords: Gender; expectations; grades; introductory microeconomics; US;


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  1. Robb, R.E. & Robb, A.L., 1996. "Gender and the Study of Economics: The Role of Gender of the Instructor," Papers 1996-05, York (Canada) - Department of Economics.
  2. Mary O. Borg & Harriet A. Stranahan, 2002. "Personality Type and Student Performance in Upper-Level Economics Courses: The Importance of Race and Gender," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 3-14, January.
  3. Charles L. Ballard & Marianne F. Johnson, 2004. "Basic Math Skills and Performance in an Introductory Economics Class," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 3-23, January.
  4. Byron W. Brown & Carl E. Liedholm, 2002. "Can Web Courses Replace the Classroom in Principles of Microeconomics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 444-448, May.
  5. Marianne Ferber & Lauren Young, 1997. "Student Attitudes Toward Roles of Women and Men: Is the Egalitarian Household Imminent?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 65-83.
  6. Ann L. Owen & Elizabeth J. Jensen, 2000. "Why Are Women Such Reluctant Economists? Evidence from Liberal Arts Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 466-470, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Julia Bredtmann & Carsten J. Crede & Sebastian Otten, 2011. "Methods for Evaluating Educational Programs – Does Writing Center Participation Affect Student Achievement?," Ruhr Economic Papers 0275, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Owen, Ann L., 2008. "Grades, gender, and encouragement: A regression discontinuity analysis," MPRA Paper 11586, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Leão Fernandes, Graça & Chagas Lopes, Margarida, 2008. "ISEG Undergraduate Students: Determinants of Academic Performance," MPRA Paper 22082, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Marín, Carmen & Rosa-García, Alfonso, 2011. "Gender bias in risk aversion: evidence from multiple choice exams," MPRA Paper 39987, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Hubert Janos Kiss & Adrienn Selei, 2013. "Gambler's fallacy in the classroom?," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1342, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


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