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The Long Run Effects of High-School Class Gender Composition

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  • Massimo Anelli
  • Giovanni Peri

Abstract

The long run earnings and career potential of individuals are strongly affected by their education. Among college educated individuals, the choice of college major is a very important determinant of labor market outcomes. In most countries men and women exhibit significant differences in this choice which is responsible for a large portion of the gender gap in earnings. In this paper we analyze whether the gender composition of peers (classmates) in high school affects the choice of major and hence long run earning potential. We use a newly collected and unique dataset covering 30,000 Italian students graduated from high school between 1985 and 2005. We exploit the fact that students are assigned to classes whose gender composition, within a school over time, varies exogenously. Moreover we are able to control for family, cohort, teacher and school effects in assessing the effect of peer-gender ratio on outcomes. We find that the gender ratio of peers in high school significantly affected the choice of major. A larger share of same-sex peers increases the probability of choosing majors associated to high earning jobs (Economics/Business, Medicine, Engineering). For women we also find that a large percentage of female high school classmates increases their long run performance in college and their earnings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18744.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18744

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  1. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  2. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Victor Lavy & Analía Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," NBER Working Papers 13292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matt Notowidigdo, 2007. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 13422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Schneeweis, Nicole & Zweimüller, Martina, 2012. "Girls, girls, girls: Gender composition and female school choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 482-500.
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  9. 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.
  10. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  11. Scott E. Carrell & Mark L. Hoekstra, 2008. "Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids," NBER Working Papers 14246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Goldin, Claudia, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women’s Employment, Education, and Family," Scholarly Articles 2943933, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  15. 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.
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  1. boys and girls in the classroom
    by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2013-02-23 08:20:00

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