IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cep/ceedps/0138.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Professors Really Perpetuate the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a French Higher Education Institution

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Breda
  • Son Thierry Ly

Abstract

Stereotypes, role models played by teachers and social norms influence girls' academic self-concept and push girls to choose humanities rather than science. Do recruiters reinforce this strong selection by discriminating more against girls in more scientific subjects? Using the entrance exam of a French higher education institution (the Ecole Normale Supérieure) as a natural experiment, we show the opposite: discrimination goes in favor of females in more male-connoted subjects (e.g. math, philosophy) and in favor of males in more female-connoted subjects (e.g. literature, biology), inducing a rebalancing of sex ratios between students recruited for a research career in science and humanities majors. We identify discrimination by systematic differences in students' scores between oral tests (non-blind toward gender) and anonymous written tests (blind toward gender). By making comparisons of these oral/written scores differences between different subjects for a given student, we are able to control both for a student's ability in each subject and for her overall ability at oral exams. The mechanisms likely to drive this positive discrimination toward the minority gender are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Breda & Son Thierry Ly, 2012. "Do Professors Really Perpetuate the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a French Higher Education Institution," CEE Discussion Papers 0138, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0138
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp138.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144.
    2. Moro, Andrea & Norman, Peter, 2004. "A general equilibrium model of statistical discrimination," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 1-30, January.
    3. Booth, Alison & Leigh, Andrew, 2010. "Do employers discriminate by gender? A field experiment in female-dominated occupations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 236-238, May.
    4. Hunt, Jennifer & Garant, Jean-Philippe & Herman, Hannah & Munroe, David J., 2012. "Why Don't Women Patent?," IZA Discussion Papers 6886, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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, vol. 95(2), pages 152-157, May.
    6. Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey, 2006. "Discrimination, Social Identity, and Durable Inequalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 206-211, May.
    7. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    8. Manuel F. Bagues & Berta Esteve-Volart, 2010. "Can Gender Parity Break the Glass Ceiling? Evidence from a Repeated Randomized Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1301-1328.
    9. Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2006. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 12174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Natalia Zinovyeva & Manuel F. Bagues, 2010. "Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Working Papers 2010-15, FEDEA.
    11. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    12. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
    13. Broder, Ivy E, 1993. "Review of NSF Economics Proposals: Gender and Institutional Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 964-970, September.
    14. Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "A Professor Like Me: The Influence of Instructor Gender on College Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
    15. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    16. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," Scholarly Articles 2955768, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    17. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Gender Discrimination and Evaluators’ Gender: Evidence from the Italian Academy," Working Papers 201106, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Camille Terrier, 2015. "Giving a Little Help to Girls? Evidence on Grade Discrimination and its Effect on Students' Achievement," CEP Discussion Papers dp1341, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Terrier, Camille, 2015. "Giving a little help to girls? evidence on grade discrimination and its effect on students' achievement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61696, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Di Liberto, Adriana & Casula, Laura, 2016. "Teacher Assessments versus Standardized Tests: Is Acting "Girly" an Advantage?," IZA Discussion Papers 10458, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Lutter, Mark & Schröder, Martin, 2014. "Who becomes a tenured professor, and why? Panel data evidence from German sociology, 1980-2013," MPIfG Discussion Paper 14/19, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    discrimination; gender stereotypes; natural experiment; sex and science;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0138. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.