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Exposure to More Female Peers Widens the Gender Gap in STEM Participation

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  • Zölitz, Ulf
  • Brenøe, Anne

Abstract

This paper investigates how high school gender composition affects students' participation in STEM at college. Using Danish administrative data, we exploit idiosyncratic within-school variation in gender composition. We find that having a larger proportion of female peers reduces women’s probability of enrolling in and graduating from STEM programs. Men’s STEM participation increases with more female peers present. In the long run, women exposed to more female peers are less likely to work in STEM occupations, earn less, and have more children. Our findings show that the school peer environment has lasting effects on occupational sorting, the gender wage gap, and fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Zölitz, Ulf & Brenøe, Anne, 2019. "Exposure to More Female Peers Widens the Gender Gap in STEM Participation," CEPR Discussion Papers 13966, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13966
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Peer effects; Stem studies;
    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
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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