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Are Faculty Role Models? Evidence from Major Choice in an Undergraduate Institution

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  • Kevin N. Rask
  • Elizabeth M. Bailey

Abstract

The gap between men's and women's choice of college majors has not changed over the past two decades. One aspect of the debate surrounding their choice is the presence or absence of women and minority faculty role models who could attract female and minority students to a particular major. The authors provide new evidence using micro-data from student records, transcript records, and faculty records from the Colgate University classes of 1988--2000. The authors found role-model effects for women, minorities, and men. The proportion of classes taken with a faculty member "like-you" has a positive effect on the probability that a student will choose that major. These results support the idea that faculty members can exert a role-model effect on women and minority undergraduates.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin N. Rask & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 2002. "Are Faculty Role Models? Evidence from Major Choice in an Undergraduate Institution," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 99-124, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:33:y:2002:i:2:p:99-124 DOI: 10.1080/00220480209596461
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William E. Becker & Michael Watts, 2001. "Teaching Methods in U.S. Undergraduate Economics Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 269-279.
    2. Robert A. Margo & John J. Siegfried, 1996. "Long-Run Trends in Economics Bachelor's Degrees," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 326-336, October.
    3. Philip Lewis & Keith Norris, 1997. "Recent Changes In Economics Enrolments," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 16(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. Rachel A. Willis & Paul J. Pieper, 1996. "The Economics Major: A Cross-Sectional View," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 337-349, October.
    5. Bartlett, Robin L, 1995. "Attracting "Otherwise Bright Students" to Economics 101," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 362-366.
    6. Siegfried, John J & Raymond, Jennie E, 1984. "A Profile of Senior Economics Majors in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 19-25.
    7. David Brasfield & Dannie Harrison & James McCoy & Martin Milkman, 1996. "Why Have Some Schools Not Experienced a Decrease in the Percentage of Students Majoring in Economics?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 362-370, October.
    8. Michael K. Salemi & Carlie Eubanks, 1996. "Accounting for the Rise and Fall in the Number of Economics Majors with the Discouraged-Business-Major Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 350-361, October.
    9. Cecilia A. Conrad, 1996. "Where Have All the Majors Gone? Comment," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 376-378, October.
    10. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
    11. John J. Siegfried, 1997. "Trends in Undergraduate Economics Degrees: An Update," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 279-282, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rita van Deuren & Sicco C. Santema, 2012. "How to choose your minor? Decision making variables used in the selection of a minor by undergraduate students from a Dutch university of applied sciences," Working Papers 2012/06, Maastricht School of Management.
    2. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Jakubson, George H. & Martin, Mirinda L. & Main, Joyce B. & Eisenberg, Thomas, 2012. "Diversifying the faculty across gender lines: Do trustees and administrators matter?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 9-18.
    3. Ann L. Owen, 2010. "Grades, Gender, and Encouragement: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 217-234.
    4. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Carlos J. Asarta & Roger B. Butters & Andrew Perumal, 2013. "Success in Economics Major: Is it Path Dependent?," Working Papers 13-11, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    6. Holmlund, Helena & Sund, Krister, 2008. "Is the gender gap in school performance affected by the sex of the teacher," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 37-53, February.
    7. Ann L. Owen, 2010. "Grades, Gender, and Encouragement: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 217-234.
    8. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Do Faculty Serve as Role Models? The Impact of Instructor Gender on Female Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 152-157.
    9. Carlos J. Asarta & Roger B. Butters & Eric Thompson, 2013. "The Gender Question in Economic Education: Is it the Teacher or the Test?," Working Papers 13-12, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:1007-1016 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Unkovic, Cait & Sen, Maya & Quinn, Kevin M., 2015. "Does Encouragement Matter in Improving Gender Imbalances in Technical Fields? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Working Paper Series rwp15-032, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    12. Cho, Insook, 2012. "The effect of teacher–student gender matching: Evidence from OECD countries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 54-67.
    13. Griffith, Amanda L., 2010. "Persistence of women and minorities in STEM field majors: Is it the school that matters?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 911-922, December.
    14. Karnani, Mohit, 2016. "Freshmen teachers and college major choice: Evidence from a random assignment in Chile," MPRA Paper 76062, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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