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Growing the roots of STEM majors: Female math and science high school faculty and the participation of students in STEM

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  • Bottia, Martha Cecilia
  • Stearns, Elizabeth
  • Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin
  • Moller, Stephanie
  • Valentino, Lauren

Abstract

The underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is problematic given the economic and social inequities it fosters and the rising global importance of STEM occupations. This paper examines the role of the demographic composition of high school faculty—specifically the proportion of female high school math and science teachers—on college students’ decisions to declare and/or major in STEM fields. We analyze longitudinal data from students who spent their academic careers in North Carolina public secondary schools and attended North Carolina public universities. Our results suggest that although the proportion of female math and science teachers at a school has no impact on male students, it has a powerful effect on female students’ likelihood of declaring and graduating with a STEM degree, and effects are largest for female students with the highest math skills. The estimates are robust to the inclusion of controls for students’ initial ability.

Suggested Citation

  • Bottia, Martha Cecilia & Stearns, Elizabeth & Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin & Moller, Stephanie & Valentino, Lauren, 2015. "Growing the roots of STEM majors: Female math and science high school faculty and the participation of students in STEM," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 14-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:45:y:2015:i:c:p:14-27
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.01.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John V. Winters, 2017. "Do Native STEM Graduates Increase Innovation? Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Economics Working Paper Series 1714, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    2. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anne Ardila Brenøe, 2018. "Origins of gender norms: sibling gender composition and women's choice of occupation and partner," ECON - Working Papers 294, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational economics; Career choices; Impact of schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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