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The Effects of High School Peers' Gender on College Major, College Performance and Income

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  • Massimo Anelli
  • Giovanni Peri

Abstract

Using an originally constructed dataset that follows 30,000 Italian individuals from high school to the labor market, we analyze whether the gender composition of peers in high school affected their choice of college major, their academic performance and their labor market income. We exploit the within-school, cohort-by-cohort variation in the gender composition of high school classmates (peers), after controlling for school and teachers fixed effects. We find that male students graduating from classes with a large majority of male peers were more likely to choose “prevalently male” (PM) college majors (Economics, Business and Engineering). However, this impact was partially undone during college through attrition, worse academic performance and change in major. And in the long run it did not produce any difference in income or labor market outcomes. We do not find significant effects of the high school class gender composition on women. Our results are consistent with the fact that individuals are affected by the choice/pressure of the network of friends and with the observation that network size responds to class gender composition more for men than for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Anelli & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "The Effects of High School Peers' Gender on College Major, College Performance and Income," CESifo Working Paper Series 6014, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6014
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    Cited by:

    1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Isphording, Ingo E. & Lisauskaite, Elena, 2020. "Peer diversity, college performance and educational choices," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    2. Chise Diana & Fort Margherita & Monfardini Chiara, 2021. "On the Intergenerational Transmission of STEM Education among Graduate Students," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(1), pages 115-145, January.
    3. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio & Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2017. "Parents, Siblings and Schoolmates: The Effects of Family-School Interactions on Educational Achievement and Long-Term Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 11200, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Zölitz, Ulf & Feld, Jan, 2020. "The Effect of Peer Gender on Major Choice in Business School," IZA Discussion Papers 13396, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Schone, Pal & von Simson, Kristine & Strom, Marte, 2017. "Girls Helping Girls: The Impact of Female Peers on Grades and Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 10586, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Pierre Mouganie & Yaojing Wang, 2020. "High-Performing Peers and Female STEM Choices in School," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 805-841.
    7. Borbely, Daniel & Norris, Jonathan & Romiti, Agnese, 2021. "Peer Gender and Schooling: Evidence from Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 14439, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Delaney, Judith M. & Devereux, Paul J., 2021. "Gender differences in college applications: Aspiration and risk management," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    9. Leslie S. Stratton & Nabanita Datta Gupta & David Reimer & Anders Holm, 2017. "Modeling Enrollment in and Completion of Vocational Education: The Role of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills by Program Type," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20172, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    10. Lukas Kiessling & Jonathan Norris, 2020. "The long-run effects of peers on mental health," Working Papers 2006, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    11. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2020. "Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression," Working Paper Series 1364, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    12. Getik, Demid & Meier, Armando N., 2020. "Peer Gender and Mental Health," Working papers 2020/15, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    13. Simone Balestra & Aurélien Sallin & Stefan C. Wolter, 2020. "High-Ability Influencers? The Heterogeneous Effects of Gifted Classmates," CESifo Working Paper Series 8793, CESifo.
    14. Anelli, Massimo & Shih, Kevin Y. & Williams, Kevin, 2017. "Foreign Peer Effects and STEM Major Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 10743, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Goulas, Sofoklis & Megalokonomou, Rigissa & Zhang, Yi, 2018. "Does the Girl Next Door Affect Your Academic Outcomes and Career Choices?," IZA Discussion Papers 11910, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Jonathan Norris, 2019. "Peers, parents and attitudes about school," Working Papers 1901, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    17. Valerie K. Bostwick & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2018. "Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs," NBER Working Papers 25028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Garcia-Brazales, Javier, 2021. "Changing Gender Attitudes: The Long-Run Effects of Early Exposure to Female Classmates," EconStor Preprints 232502, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    19. 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.
    20. Jonathan Norris, 2019. "Identify economics: social influence and skill development," Working Papers 1908, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    21. D. Chise & M. Fort & C. Monfardini, 2019. "Scientifico! like Dad: On the Intergenerational Transmission of STEM Education in Italy," Working Papers wp1138, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    peer effects; high school; gender; networks; choice of college major; academic performance; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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