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

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

Abstract

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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  • Rosenbloom, Joshua L. & Ash, Ronald A. & Dupont, Brandon & Coder, LeAnne, 2008. "Why are there so few women in information technology? Assessing the role of personality in career choices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 543-554, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:4:p:543-554
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Kuhn, Peter J. & Weinberger, Catherine, 2002. "Leadership Skills and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 482, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Was Larry Summers Right about Women?
      by Brandon Dupont in Economic Incubator on 2013-09-06 10:14:02

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    Cited by:

    1. Migheli, Matteo, 2010. "Gender at Work: Productivity and Incentives," AICCON Working Papers 74-2010, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    2. Tran, Tuyen & Tran, Anh & Pham, Thai & Vu, Huong, 2017. "Local governance and occupational choice among young people: First evidence from Vietnam," MPRA Paper 84436, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2017.
    3. Heather Antecol & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2010. "Do Non-cognitive Skills Help Explain the Occupational Segregation of Young People?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2010n13, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Ham, Roger & Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja) & Wells, Robert, 2009. "Occupational Choice: Personality Matters," IZA Discussion Papers 4105, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Castro Campos, Bente, 2013. "Human capital differences or labor market discrimination? The occupational outcomes of ethnic minorities in rural Guizhou (China)," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 73, number 73.
    6. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2013. "Do psychosocial traits help explain gender segregation in young people's occupations?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 59-73.
    7. A Aggarwal & R Freguglia & G Johnes & G Spricigo, 2011. "Education and labour market outcomes : evidence from India," Working Papers 615663, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    8. Castro Campos, Bente, 0. "Official Ethnic Labels and Non-Agricultural Work in Guizhou (China)," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 53.
    9. Nifo, Annamaria & Scalera, Domenico & Vecchione, Gaetano, 2016. "What do you want to be when you grow up? Local institutional quality and the choice of the fields of study in Italy (2004-2007)," MPRA Paper 69907, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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