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Competitive Schools and the Gender Gap in the Choice of Field of Study

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  • Landaud, Fanny
  • Ly, Son-Thierry
  • Maurin, Eric

Abstract

French students have to choose a major field of study at the end of their first year of high school. This is a very important decision as students have little leeway to change their field of study during the two last years of high school. Building on a RD design, this paper reveals that enrollment at a more selective high school, with higher-achieving peers, has no impact on boys' choices, but a very significant impact on girls' ones: they turn away from scientific fields and settle for less competitive and prestigious ones. Estimated effects are very large: an increase of about 10% of a SD in the ability level of high school peers induces a reduction of about 10 percentage points in the proportion of girls who choose to specialize in science. Effects are even larger for girls at the top of the ability distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Landaud, Fanny & Ly, Son-Thierry & Maurin, Eric, 2016. "Competitive Schools and the Gender Gap in the Choice of Field of Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 11411, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11411
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    Cited by:

    1. Bütikofer, Aline & Ginja, Rita & Landaud, Fanny & Loken, Katrine Vellesen, 2020. "School Selectivity, Peers, and Mental Health," IZA Discussion Papers 13796, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2021. "Gender and Educational Achievement: Stylized Facts and Causal Evidence," Working Papers 202103, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Olivier Monso & Denis Fougere & Pauline Givord & Claudine Pirus, 2019. "Les camarades influencent-ils la réussite et le parcours des élèves ? Une revue de littérature sur les effets de pairs dans l’enseignement primaire et secondaire," Sciences Po publications 86, Sciences Po.
    4. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Goulas, Sofoklis & Griselda, Silvia & Megalokonomou, Rigissa, 2020. "Comparative Advantage and Gender Gap in STEM," IZA Discussion Papers 13313, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Fanny Landaud & Eric Maurin, 2020. "Aim High and Persevere! Competitive Pressure and Access Gaps in Top Science Graduate Programs," Working Papers halshs-03065958, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender gap in science; selective school;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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