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Career Choices and the Evolution of the College Gender Gap

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  • Martín A Rossi
  • Christian A Ruzzier

Abstract

The opportunity cost for men of pursuing a college degree has been rising due to the increase in the rewards to becoming a superstar in occupations typically dominated by men, like professional sports. This suggests a novel explanation for the evolution of the college gender gap (which shows a clear upward trend in female college enrollments relative to male enrollments). Causal evidence from a natural experiment in European soccer markets—that provides exogenous variation in the expected earnings for men associated with a superstar path—supports this explanation: an increase in male earnings has a significant positive effect on the ratio of female to male tertiary enrollment in college education. Results are robust to using different samples of countries, to allowing for regional time trends, to analyzing lagged effects, to changing the definition of the treatment, and to exploiting alternative definitions of exposure.

Suggested Citation

  • Martín A Rossi & Christian A Ruzzier, 2018. "Career Choices and the Evolution of the College Gender Gap," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 307-333.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:32:y:2018:i:2:p:307-333.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhw038
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    Cited by:

    1. Brennan Mange & David C. Phillips, 2016. "Career Interruption and Productivity: Evidence from Major League Baseball during the Vietnam War Era," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(2), pages 159-185.
    2. Martín González Eiras & Nikolaj A. Harmon & Martín Rossi, 2017. "Fundamentals and Optimal Institutions: The case of US sports leagues," Working Papers 128, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jan 2017.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; gender gap; superstars;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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