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Why Do Women Leave Science and Engineering?

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  • Hunt, Jennifer

    () (Rutgers University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hunt, Jennifer, 2012. "Why Do Women Leave Science and Engineering?," IZA Discussion Papers 6885, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6885
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jennifer Hunt, 2016. "Why do Women Leave Science and Engineering?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(1), pages 199-226, January.
    2. Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial? Distinctions by Entry Visa," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 417-457.
    3. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2010. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 31-56, April.
    4. 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.
    5. 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 1446-1462, December.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Basit Zafar, 2013. "College Major Choice and the Gender Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 545-595.
    10. 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).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jennifer Hunt, 2016. "Why do Women Leave Science and Engineering?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(1), pages 199-226, January.
    2. Grace Lordan & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2016. "Does Rosie Like Riveting? Male and Female Occupational Choices," CEP Discussion Papers dp1446, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Juan J. Dolado & Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Sara De La Rica, 2013. "On Gender Gaps And Self-Fulfilling Expectations: Alternative Implications Of Paid-For Training," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1829-1848, July.
    4. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:4:p:805-813 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Krapf, Matthias & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Zimmermann, Christian, 2017. "Parenthood and productivity of highly skilled labor: Evidence from the groves of academe," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 147-175.
    6. 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).
    7. Lehouelleur, Sophie & Beblavý, Miroslav & Maselli,Ilaria, 2015. "How returns from tertiary education differ by field of study: Implications for policy-makers and students," CEPS Papers 10835, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    8. Ioana-Alexandra CHIRIANU & Irina IONESCU, 2014. "Status Of Women In The It Between 2000-2014," SEA - Practical Application of Science, Fundația Română pentru Inteligența Afacerii, Editorial Department, issue 5, pages 209-216, November.
    9. Hunt, Jennifer & Garant, Jean-Philippe & Herman, Hannah & Munroe, David J., 2013. "Why are women underrepresented amongst patentees?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 831-843.
    10. Lisa D. Cook & Chaleampong Kongcharoen, 2010. "The Idea Gap in Pink and Black," NBER Working Papers 16331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:gam:jscscx:v:7:y:2018:i:1:p:11-:d:126324 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Siqi Han & Dmitry Tumin & Zhenchao Qian, 2016. "Gendered transitions to adulthood by college field of study in the United States," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(31), pages 929-960, September.
    13. Gaule, Patrick & Piacentini, Mario, 2018. "An advisor like me? Advisor gender and post-graduate careers in science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 805-813.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    science and engineering workforce; gender;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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