IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

College Major Choice and the Gender Gap

  • Basit Zafar

This paper studies how college majors are chosen, focusing on the underlying gender gap. I collect a data set of Northwestern University sophomores that contains their subjective expectations about choice-specific c outcomes, and estimate a model where majors are chosen under uncertainty. Enjoying coursework and gaining parents’ approval are the most important determinants in the choice for both genders. However, males and females differ in their preferences in the workplace, with males caring about the pecuniary outcomes in the workplace much more than females. The gender gap is mainly due to gender differences in preferences and tastes, and not because females are underconfident about their academic ability or fear monetary discrimination. The findings in this paper make a case for policies that change attitudes toward gender roles.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/48/3/545
Download Restriction: A subscription is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 48 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 545-595

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:48:y:2013:iii:1:p:545-595
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
  2. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  3. Magali Beffy & Denis Fougère & Arnaud Maurel, 2012. "Choosing the Field of Study in Postsecondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 334-347, February.
  4. Delavande, Adeline, 2005. "Pill, Patch or Shot? Subjective Expectations and Birth Control Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 4856, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Rob Euwals & Bertrand Melenberg & Arthur van Soest, 1998. "Testing the predictive value of subjective labour supply data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 567-585.
  6. V. Joseph Hotz & Peter Arcidiacono & Songman Kang, 2010. "Modeling College Major Choices Using Elicited Measures of Expectations and Counterfactuals," Working Papers 10-30, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
  8. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2009. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 14959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  10. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-65, July.
  12. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  13. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2004. "The effects of subjective survival on retirement and Social Security claiming," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 761-775.
  14. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
  15. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2000. "How Large is the Bias in Self-Reported Disability?," Working Papers 2000-01, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  16. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Preferences and prices in choice of career: The switch to business, 1972-1987," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-34, June.
  17. F. Thomas Juster, 1964. "Anticipations and Purchases: An Analysis of Consumer Behavior," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just64-1, June.
  18. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
  19. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2012. "On the Use of Expectations Data in Estimating Structural Dynamic Choice Models," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 521 - 554.
  20. Florian Hoffman & Philip Oreopoulos, 2007. "A Professor Like Me: The Influence of Instructor Gender on College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 13182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. David Revelt & Kenneth Train, 1998. "Mixed Logit With Repeated Choices: Households' Choices Of Appliance Efficiency Level," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 647-657, November.
  22. Richard Breen & Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa, 2002. "Bayesian Learning and Gender Segregation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 899-922, October.
  23. Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:48:y:2013:iii:1:p:545-595. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.