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Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs

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  • Valerie K. Bostwick
  • Bruce A. Weinberg

Abstract

We study the effects of peer gender composition, a proxy for female-friendliness of environment, in STEM doctoral programs on persistence and degree completion. Leveraging unique new data and quasi-random variation in gender composition across cohorts within programs, we show that women entering cohorts with no female peers are 11.9pp less likely to graduate within 6 years than their male counterparts. A 1 sd increase in the percentage of female students differentially increases the probability of on-time graduation for women by 4.6pp. These gender peer effects function primarily through changes in the probability of dropping out in the first year of a Ph.D. program and are largest in programs that are typically male-dominated.

Suggested Citation

  • Valerie K. Bostwick & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2018. "Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs," NBER Working Papers 25028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25028
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    Cited by:

    1. Joyce J. Chen & Daniel Crown, 2019. "The Gender Pay Gap in Academia: Evidence from the Ohio State University," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 101(5), pages 1337-1352, October.
    2. Modena, Francesca & Rettore, Enrico & Tanzi, Giulia, 2021. "Does Gender Matter? The Effect of High Performing Peers on Academic Performances," IZA Discussion Papers 14806, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Paredes, Valentina & Paserman, M. Daniele & Pino, Francisco J., 2020. "Does Economics Make You Sexist?," IZA Discussion Papers 13223, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Emeric Henry & Thierry Mayer, 2019. "Peer Effects in Academic Research: Senders and Receivers," Working Papers hal-03393072, HAL.
    5. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Emeric Henry & Thierry Mayer, 2019. "Peer Effects in Academic Research: Senders and Receivers," Sciences Po publications 2019-16, Sciences Po.
    6. 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.
    7. Mcnally, Sandra, 2020. "Gender differences in tertiary education: what explains STEM participation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108232, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Jiang, Xuan, 2021. "Women in STEM: Ability, preference, and value," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    9. Chang, Wan-Ying & Cheng, Wei & Lane, Julia & Weinberg, Bruce, 2019. "Federal funding of doctoral recipients: What can be learned from linked data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1487-1492.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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