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Math and Gender: Is Math a Route to a High-Powered Career?

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Author Info

  • Juanna Schrøter Joensen

    (Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden)

  • Helena Skyt Nielsen

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)

Abstract

There is a large gender gap in advanced math coursework in high school that many believe exists because girls are discouraged from taking math courses. In this paper, we exploit an institutional change that reduced the costs of acquiring advanced high school math to determine if access is, in fact, the mechanism - in particular for girls at the top of the math ability distribution. By estimating marginal treatment effects of acquiring advanced math qualifications, we document substantial beneficial wage effects from encouraging even more females to opt for these qualifications. Our analysis suggests that the beneficial effect comes from accelerating graduation and attracting females to high-paid or traditionally male-dominated career tracks and to CEO positions. Our results may be reconciled with experimental and empirical evidence suggesting there is a pool of unexploited math talent among high ability girls that may be retrieved by changing the institutional set-up of math teaching.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2013-01.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 18 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2013-01

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Web page: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/

Related research

Keywords: Math; gender; career choice; high school curriculum; instrumental variable;

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References

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  1. Juanna Schrøter Joensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2006. "Is there a Causal Effect of High School Math on Labor Market Outcomes?," Economics Working Papers 2006-11, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  2. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2009. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," Working Papers 200941, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Nina Smith & Valdemar Smith & Mette Verner, 2013. "Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence, 1997?2007," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(2), pages 380-408, April.
  4. Goldin, Claudia D. & Bertrand, Marianne & Katz, Lawrence F., 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," Scholarly Articles 8810041, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-44, Spring.
  6. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101, 08.
  8. Bedard, Kelly & Cho, Insook, 2010. "Early gender test score gaps across OECD countries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 348-363, June.
  9. Örs, Evren & Palomino, Frédéric & Peyrache, Eloïc, 2008. "Performance Gender-Gap: Does Competition Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6891, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Joseph G. Altonji & Erica Blom & Costas Meghir, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Human Capital Investments: High School Curriculum, College Major, and Careers," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 185-223, 07.
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Cited by:
  1. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2011. "Gender and Competition in Adolescence: Task Matter," Research Papers in Economics 2011:14, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 08 Mar 2013.

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