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Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment

  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • van Ewijk, Reyn

Recent studies for primary and secondary education find positive effects of the share of females in the classroom on achievement of males and females. This study examines whether these results can be extrapolated to higher education. We conduct an experiment in which the shares of females in workgroups for first year students in economics and business are manipulated and students are randomly assigned to these groups. Males tend to postpone, but not abandon, their dropout decision when surrounded by more females and perform worse on courses with high math content. There is also a modest reduction in absenteeism early in the year. Overall, however, we find no substantial gender peer effects on achievement. This in spite of the fact that according to students’ perceptions, both their own, and their peers’ behavior are influenced by the share of females.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 51-63

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:51-63
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Diane Whitmore, 2005. "Resource and Peer Impacts on Girls' Academic Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 199-203, May.
  2. Booth, Alison L. & Cardona Sosa, Lina Marcela & Nolen, Patrick J., 2013. "Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Exam Scores? An Experiment in a Coeducational University," IZA Discussion Papers 7207, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bryan S. Graham & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2014. "Complementarity and aggregate implications of assortative matching: A nonparametric analysis," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 29-66, 03.
  4. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
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  6. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Hessami, Zohal & Fischbacher, Urs & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2015. "Academic performance and single-sex schooling: Evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 123-143.
  7. Ficano, Carlena Cochi, 2012. "Peer effects in college academic outcomes – Gender matters!," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1102-1115.
  8. Han, Li & Li, Tao, 2009. "The gender difference of peer influence in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 129-134, February.
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  10. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ost, Ben, 2010. "The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 923-934, December.
  13. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2009. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 14959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  17. Zeynep Hansen & Hideo Owan & Jie Pan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom," NBER Working Papers 12251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
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