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Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment

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  • Oosterbeek, H.
  • Ewijk, R. van

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Oosterbeek, H. & Ewijk, R. van, 2010. "Gender peer effects in university: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Working Papers 35, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:tir:wpaper:35
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    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. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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, March.
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    16. 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.
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    18. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio & Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2017. "Parents, Siblings and Schoolmates: The Effects of Family-School Interactions on Educational Achievement and Long-Term Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 11200, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Thiemann, Petra, 2017. "The Persistent Effects of Short-Term Peer Groups in Higher Education," IZA Discussion Papers 11024, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Sprietsma, Maresa & Pfeil, Lisa, 2015. "Peer effects in language training for migrants," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-033, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Hill, Andrew J., 2017. "The positive influence of female college students on their male peers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 151-160.
    6. Sander Hoogendoorn & Hessel Oosterbeek & Mirjam van Praag, 2013. "The Impact of Gender Diversity on the Performance of Business Teams: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(7), pages 1514-1528, July.
    7. repec:taf:apeclt:v:24:y:2017:i:19:p:1369-1373 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Oleg V. Poldin & Tania P. Simoes & Marcelo Knobel & Maria M. Yudkevich, 2015. "Estimation of Peer Effects with Predicted Social Ties: Evidence from Two Universities in Brazil and Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 30/EDU/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    9. Laura Cyron & Guido Schwerdt & Martina Viarengo, 2017. "The effect of opposite sex siblings on cognitive and noncognitive skills in early childhood," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(19), pages 1369-1373, November.
    10. Sohn, Hosung, 2016. "Mean and distributional impact of single-sex high schools on students’ cognitive achievement, major choice, and test-taking behavior: Evidence from a random assignment policy in Seoul, Korea," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 155-175.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field experiment; Peer effects; University students;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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