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Why Do Women Leave Science and Engineering?

  • Hunt, Jennifer

I use the 1993 and 2003 National Surveys of College Graduates to examine the higher exit rate of women compared to men from science and engineering relative to other fields. I find that the higher relative exit rate is driven by engineering rather than science, and show that 60% of the gap can be explained by the relatively greater exit rate from engineering of women dissatisfied with pay and promotion opportunities. I find that family-related constraints and dissatisfaction with working conditions are only secondary factors. The relative exit rate by gender from engineering does not differ from that of other fields once women's relatively high exit rates from male fields generally are taken into account.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9152.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9152
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  1. Basit Zafar, 2013. "College Major Choice and the Gender Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 545-595.
  2. Preston, Anne E, 1994. "Why Have All the Women Gone? A Study of Exit of Women from the Science and Engineering Professions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1446-62, December.
  3. Hunt, Jennifer, 2012. "Why Do Women Leave Science and Engineering?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2008. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," Departmental Working Papers 2008-07, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  6. Hunt, Jennifer, 2010. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial? Distinctions by Entry Visa," IZA Discussion Papers 4745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Robst, John, 2007. "Education and job match: The relatedness of college major and work," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 397-407, August.
  8. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2011. "Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major," NBER Working Papers 16869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nicole M. Fortin, 2008. "The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  10. Paula Stephan & Sharon Levin, 2005. "Leaving Careers in IT: Gender Differences in Retention," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 383-396, October.
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