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Gender, Expectations, And Grades In Introductory Microeconomics At A Us University

  • Charles Ballard
  • Marianne Johnson

Previous studies have documented a gender gap in the study of economics in Canada, the UK, and the US. One important factor may be women's low expectations about their ability to succeed in economics courses. Women in our sample expect to do less well than men in an introductory microeconomics course, even after controlling for variables relating to family background, academic experience, and mathematics experience. These expectations are partly self-fulfilling, since expected grades have an important and positive effect on class performance. We also find that having taken an economics course in secondary school actually has a negative effect on performance. We observe this negative effect for women and men, but it is more pronounced for women. When we control for both expectations and secondary-school experience with economics, the independent effect of gender is small and insignificant.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 95-122

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:11:y:2005:i:1:p:95-122
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  1. Charles L. Ballard & Marianne F. Johnson, 2004. "Basic Math Skills and Performance in an Introductory Economics Class," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 3-23, January.
  2. Robb, R.E. & Robb, A.L., 1996. "Gender and the Study of Economics: The Role of Gender of the Instructor," Working Papers 1996-05, Brock University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ann L. Owen & Elizabeth J. Jensen, 2000. "Why Are Women Such Reluctant Economists? Evidence from Liberal Arts Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 466-470, May.
  4. Byron W. Brown & Carl E. Liedholm, 2002. "Can Web Courses Replace the Classroom in Principles of Microeconomics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 444-448, May.
  5. Marianne Ferber & Lauren Young, 1997. "Student Attitudes Toward Roles of Women and Men: Is the Egalitarian Household Imminent?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 65-83.
  6. Mary O. Borg & Harriet A. Stranahan, 2002. "Personality Type and Student Performance in Upper-Level Economics Courses: The Importance of Race and Gender," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 3-14, January.
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