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Gender Differences in Major Choice and College Entrance Probabilities in Brazil

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  • Alejandra Traferri
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    Abstract

    I study gender differences in major choice and college entrance probabilities in University of Campinas, a Brazilian public university dependent on the State of Sao Paulo. As with most Brazilian public universities, students select a major, and then compete for a place in that major by taking a major-specific entrance exam. This singular characteristic of the Brazilian case allows me to differentiate the effect of gender on major-specific entrance probabilities and preferences. I propose a model and econometric strategy which can account for two important issues, selectivity bias and the fact that expected utility depends on the probability of entering the different majors. I find evidence of gender differences in preferences and entrance probabilities. For most majors, gender differences in major choice are mostly explained by differences in preferences. However, for the most demanding majors (those that require higher grades from students), differences in major choice are explained in a large proportion by differences in entrance probabilities. Finally, I find that gender has important interactions with other variables. In particular, gender effects depend on education, socioeconomic characteristics and family background.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 403.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:403

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    Keywords: Major choice; gender differences; college entrance; test; vestibular; brazilian universities;

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    1. Juliana Guimarães & Breno Sampaio, 2007. "The Influence Of Family Background And Individual Characteristics On Entrance Tests Scores Of Brazilian University Students," Anais do XXXV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 35th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 092, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    2. Montmarquette, C. & Cannings, C. & Mahseredjian,S., 1997. "How do Young People Choose College Majors?," Cahiers de recherche 9719, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    3. Basit Zafar, 2009. "College major choice and the gender gap," Staff Reports 364, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    4. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of major: The changing (unchanging) gender gap," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
    5. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
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