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Gender and the Study of Economics: Is There A Role Model Effect?


  • Roberta Edgecombe Robb
  • A. Leslie Robb


In this paper we explore the question of whether the gender of the instructor in first year university microeconomics might play a role either in the performance of students in the course - especially the performance of female students - or in the likelihood that a student will continue in economics. We could find no evidence that gender of instructor matters. As in other studies, we find that female students fare worse in economics than do male students controlling for measured ability and background. Moreover, fewer females continue in economics than do males, even conditioning on first year performance. Yet again, we could find no indication that the gender of instructor made any difference to the continuation probability. We are unable to contribute to the explanation of the puzzle of female performance or continuation in economics, therefore, though we cast some doubt on one of the hypotheses that has been suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberta Edgecombe Robb & A. Leslie Robb, 1997. "Gender and the Study of Economics: Is There A Role Model Effect?," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 332, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:332

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    Cited by:

    1. Roberta Edgecombe Robb & A. Leslie Robb, 1999. "Gender and the Study of Economics: The Role of Gender of the Instructor," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 3-19, January.

    More about this item


    gender; study of economics;

    JEL classification:

    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General


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