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Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment

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  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • van Ewijk, Reyn

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Oosterbeek, Hessel & van Ewijk, Reyn, 2014. "Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 51-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:51-63
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.11.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anne Ardila Brenøe & Ulf Zölitz, 2018. "Exposure to more female peers widens the gender gap in STEM participation," ECON - Working Papers 285, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Hill, Andrew J., 2017. "The positive influence of female college students on their male peers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 151-160.
    3. 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.
    4. Sander Hoogendoorn & Hessel Oosterbeek & Mirjam van Praag, 2013. "The Impact of Gender Diversity on the Performance of Business Teams: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(7), pages 1514-1528, July.
    5. Laura Cyron & Guido Schwerdt & Martina Viarengo, 2017. "The effect of opposite sex siblings on cognitive and noncognitive skills in early childhood," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(19), pages 1369-1373, November.
    6. Thiemann, Petra, 2017. "The Persistent Effects of Short-Term Peer Groups in Higher Education," IZA Discussion Papers 11024, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Sprietsma, Maresa & Pfeil, Lisa, 2015. "Peer effects in language training for migrants," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-033, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio & Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2017. "Parents, Siblings and Schoolmates: The Effects of Family-School Interactions on Educational Achievement and Long-Term Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 11200, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Oleg V. Poldin & Tania P. Simoes & Marcelo Knobel & Maria M. Yudkevich, 2015. "Estimation of Peer Effects with Predicted Social Ties: Evidence from Two Universities in Brazil and Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 30/EDU/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    10. Sohn, Hosung, 2016. "Mean and distributional impact of single-sex high schools on students’ cognitive achievement, major choice, and test-taking behavior: Evidence from a random assignment policy in Seoul, Korea," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 155-175.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field experiment; Peer effects; Gender; University students;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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