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Gender of Siblings and Choice of College Major

Author

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  • Massimo Anelli
  • Giovanni Peri

Abstract

In this study we analyze whether the gender composition of siblings within a family affects the choice of College Major. The question is whether a family environment that is more gender-homogeneous encourages academic choices that are less gender stereotyped. We use the last name and the exact family address contained in a unique dataset covering 30,000 Italian students graduated from high school between 1985 and 2005 to identify siblings. We follow the academic career of these individuals from high school to college graduation. We find that mixed gender siblings within a family tend to choose college majors following a stereotypical gender specialization. Namely, males have higher probability of choosing “male dominated” majors such as Engineering and women higher probability of choosing “female dominated” majors such as Humanities. Same-gender siblings, on the other hand, have higher probability of making non-gender stereotyped choices. This college major choice is not driven by the choice of high school academic curriculum, which appears to be mainly function of geographical proximity to schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Anelli & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "Gender of Siblings and Choice of College Major," CESifo Working Paper Series 4529, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4529
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4529.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Booth, Alison & Cardona-Sosa, Lina & Nolen, Patrick, 2014. "Gender differences in risk aversion: Do single-sex environments affect their development?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 126-154.
    2. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
    3. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-144, Spring.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Erica Blom & Costas Meghir, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Human Capital Investments: High School Curriculum, College Major, and Careers," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 185-223, July.
    5. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anne Ardila Brenøe, 2018. "Origins of gender norms: sibling gender composition and women's choice of occupation and partner," ECON - Working Papers 294, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Cools, Angela & Patacchini, Eleonora, 2017. "Sibling Gender Composition and Women's Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 11001, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; choice of college major; family structure;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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