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Grades, Gender, and Encouragement: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis

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  • Ann L. Owen

Abstract

The author employs a regression discontinuity design to provide direct evidence on the effects of grades earned in economics principles classes on the decision to major in economics and finds a differential effect for male and female students. Specifically, for female students, receiving an A for a final grade in the first economics class is associated with a meaningful increase in the probability of majoring in economics, even after controlling for the numerical grade earned in the class. This suggests that for female students, the feedback that is embedded in the course letter grade has an encouragement effect on their decision to study economics further. The author finds no evidence of a similar effect for male students.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann L. Owen, 2010. "Grades, Gender, and Encouragement: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 217-234, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:41:y:2010:i:3:p:217-234
    DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2010.486718
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Austin Nichols, 2007. "RD: Stata module for regression discontinuity estimation," Statistical Software Components S456888, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 30 Sep 2016.
    2. 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.
    3. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    4. Karen E. Dynan & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1997. "The Underrepresentation of Women in Economics: A Study of Undergraduate Economics Students," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 350-368, December.
    5. Charles Ballard & Marianne Johnson, 2005. "Gender, Expectations, And Grades In Introductory Microeconomics At A Us University," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 95-122.
    6. 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.
    7. Austin Nichols, 2007. "Causal inference with observational data," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 507-541, December.
    8. John F. Chizmar, 2000. "A Discrete-Time Hazard Analysis of the Role of Gender in Persistence in the Economics Major," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 107-118, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ann L. Owen, 2011. "Student Characteristics, Behavior, and Performance in Economics Classes," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 32 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Ost, Ben, 2010. "The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 923-934, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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