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Why Do Women Leave Science and Engineering?

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  • Jennifer Hunt

Abstract

I use the 1993 and 2003 National Surveys of College Graduates to examine the higher exit rate of women compared to men from science and engineering relative to other fields. I find that the higher relative exit rate is driven by engineering rather than science, and show that 60% of the gap can be explained by the relatively greater exit rate from engineering of women dissatisfied with pay and promotion opportunities. Contrary to the existing literature, I find that family–related constraints and dissatisfaction with working conditions are only secondary factors. My results differ due to my use of non–science and engineering fields as a comparison group. The relative exit rate by gender from engineering does not differ from that of other fields once women's relatively high exit rates from male fields generally is taken into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15853.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15853

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  1. Jennifer Hunt, 2010. "Why Do Women Leave Science And Engineering?," Departmental Working Papers 2010-03, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  2. Basit Zafar, 2013. "College Major Choice and the Gender Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 545-595.
  3. Paula Stephan & Sharon Levin, 2005. "Leaving Careers in IT: Gender Differences in Retention," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 383-396, October.
  4. Preston, Anne E, 1994. "Why Have All the Women Gone? A Study of Exit of Women from the Science and Engineering Professions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1446-62, December.
  5. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2008. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 14312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2011. "Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20111, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  7. Hunt, Jennifer, 2010. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial? Distinctions by Entry Visa," IZA Discussion Papers 4745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Jennifer Hunt & Jean-Philippe Garant & Hannah Herman & David J. Munroe, 2012. "Why Don't Women Patent?," NBER Working Papers 17888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nicole M. Fortin, 2008. "The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  10. Robst, John, 2007. "Education and job match: The relatedness of college major and work," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 397-407, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Hunt, Jennifer & Garant, Jean-Philippe & Herman, Hannah & Munroe, David J., 2012. "Why Don't Women Patent?," IZA Discussion Papers 6886, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lisa D. Cook & Chaleampong Kongcharoen, 2010. "The Idea Gap in Pink and Black," NBER Working Papers 16331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Krapf, Matthias & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Zimmermann, Christian, 2014. "Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor: Evidence from the Groves of Academe," IZA Discussion Papers 7904, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Hunt, Jennifer, 2012. "Why Do Women Leave Science and Engineering?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Juan J. Dolado & Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Sara De La Rica, 2013. "On Gender Gaps And Self-Fulfilling Expectations: Alternative Implications Of Paid-For Training," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1829-1848, 07.
  6. Hunt, Jennifer & Garant, Jean-Philippe & Herman, Hannah & Munroe, David J., 2013. "Why are women underrepresented amongst patentees?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 831-843.

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