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Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Ahn
  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Amy Hopson
  • James R. Thomas

Abstract

Substantial earnings differences exist across majors with the majors that pay well also having lower grades and higher workloads. We show that the harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women. To show this, we estimate a model of student demand courses and optimal effort choices of students conditional on the chosen courses. Instructor grading policies are treated as equilibrium objects that in part depend on student demand for courses. Restrictions on grading policies that equalize average grades across classes helps to close the STEM gender gap as well as increasing overall enrollment in STEM classes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Ahn & Peter Arcidiacono & Amy Hopson & James R. Thomas, 2019. "Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors," NBER Working Papers 26556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26556
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Lisa B. Kahn & Jamin D. Speer, 2014. "Trends in Earnings Differentials across College Majors and the Changing Task Composition of Jobs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 387-393, May.
    2. Price, Joshua, 2010. "The effect of instructor race and gender on student persistence in STEM fields," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 901-910, December.
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    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Lisa B. Kahn & Jamin D. Speer, 2016. "Cashier or Consultant? Entry Labor Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 361-401.
    5. Astorne-Figari, Carmen & Speer, Jamin D., 2018. "Drop out, switch majors, or persist? The contrasting gender gaps," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 82-85.
    6. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
    7. Maria Ferreyra & Angelica Sanchez Diaz & Carlos Garriga, 2018. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of College Enrollment, Completion, and Labor Market Outcomes," 2018 Meeting Papers 1282, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Astorne-Figari, Carmen & Speer, Jamin D., 2019. "Are changes of major major changes? The roles of grades, gender, and preferences in college major switching," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 75-93.
    9. Peter Arcidiacono & Robert A. Miller, 2011. "Conditional Choice Probability Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models With Unobserved Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1823-1867, November.
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    15. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban Aucejo & Ken Spenner, 2012. "What happens after enrollment? An analysis of the time path of racial differences in GPA and major choice," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caterina Calsamiglia & Annalisa Loviglio, 2016. "Grading On A Curve: When Having Good Peers Is Not Good," Working Papers 940, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

    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

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