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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. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
  2. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2013. "Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 119 - 153.
  5. Victor Lavy & Analía 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. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Gerald Eisenkopf & Zohal Hessami & Urs Fischbacher & Heinrich Ursprung, 2011. "Academic Performance and Single-Sex Schooling: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Switzerland," TWI Research Paper Series 69, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universit�t Konstanz.
  9. 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.
  10. Victor Lavy & Analía Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," NBER Working Papers 13292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
  15. Bryan S. Graham & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2014. "Complementarity and aggregate implications of assortative matching: A nonparametric analysis," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 29-66, 03.
  16. 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.
  17. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144.
  18. Ficano, Carlena Cochi, 2012. "Peer effects in college academic outcomes – Gender matters!," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1102-1115.
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