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Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment

  • Oosterbeek, H.
  • Ewijk, R. van

Recent studies for primary and secondary education find positive effects of the share of girls in the classroom on achievement of boys and girls. This study examines whether these results can be extrapolated to post-secondary education. We conduct an experiment in which the shares of girls in workgroups for first year students in economics and business are manipulated and students are randomly assigned to these groups. Boys tend to postpone their dropout decision when surrounded by more girls, and there is also a modest reduction in early absenteeism. On the other hand, boys perform worse on courses with high math content when assigned to a group with many girls. Overall, however, we fail to find substantial gender peer effects on achievement. This in spite of the fact that students in groups with many girls help each other more often and study together more often.

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Paper provided by Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research in its series Working Papers with number 35.

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Date of creation: 00 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tir:wpaper:35
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  1. Ewijk, R. van & Sleegers, P., . "Peer Ethnicity and Achievement: a Meta-analysis Into the Compositional Effect," Working Papers 19, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
  2. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Hessami, Zohal & Fischbacher, Urs & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2015. "Academic performance and single-sex schooling: Evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 123-143.
  3. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Victor Lavy & Anal�a Schlosser, 2011. "Corrigendum: Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 268-268, July.
  6. Diane Whitmore, 2005. "Resource and Peer Impacts on Girls' Academic Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 199-203, May.
  7. Alison L. Booth & Lina Cardona-Sosa & Patrick Nolen, 2013. "Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Exam Scores? An Experiment in a Coeducational University," CEPR Discussion Papers 679, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  8. Black, Sandra & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2010. "Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults," CEPR Discussion Papers 7851, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  10. Bryan S. Graham & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2009. "Complementarity and Aggregate Implications of Assortative Matching: A Nonparametric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 14860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
  13. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2009. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 14959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ficano, Carlena Cochi, 2012. "Peer effects in college academic outcomes – Gender matters!," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1102-1115.
  15. Ost, Ben, 2010. "The role of peers and grades in determining major persistence in the sciences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 923-934, December.
  16. Zeynep Hansen & Hideo Owan & Jie Pan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom," NBER Working Papers 12251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Han, Li & Li, Tao, 2009. "The gender difference of peer influence in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 129-134, February.
  18. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
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