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Why are there so few women in information technology? Assessing the role of personality in career choices

  • Rosenbloom, Joshua L.
  • Ash, Ronald A.
  • Dupont, Brandon
  • Coder, LeAnne

Despite increases in female labor force participation, women remain substantially under represented in most scientific and technical fields. The small number of women in engineering, physics, chemistry, computer science and other similar fields has variously been attributed to discrimination, differences in ability or choice. This paper uses a unique data set containing information on vocational interests to examine the determinants of entry in to Information Technology occupations. We show that men and women differ systematically in their interests, and that these differences can account for an economically and statistically large fraction of the occupational gender gap.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8H-4PV2RPM-1/2/afd55ec4a4c778ca3b532aae56475d51
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 543-554

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:4:p:543-554
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
  2. Kuhn, Peter & Weinberger, Catherine, 2003. "Leadership Skills and Wages," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt50q3c9n1, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Groves, Melissa Osborne, 2005. "How important is your personality? Labor market returns to personality for women in the US and UK," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 827-841, December.
  4. Margo Coleman & Thomas DeLeire, 2003. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  5. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  6. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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