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Exposure to more female peers widens the gender gap in STEM participation

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  • Anne Ardila Brenøe
  • Ulf Zölitz

Abstract

This paper investigates how high school gender composition affects students’ participation in STEM college studies. Using Danish administrative data, we exploit idiosyncratic within-school variation in gender composition. We find that having a larger proportion of female peers reduces women’s probability of enrolling in and graduating from STEM programs. Men’s STEM participation increases with more female peers present. In the long run, women exposed to more female peers earn less because they (1) are less likely to work in STEM occupations, and (2) have more children. Our findings show that the school peer environment has lasting effects on occupational sorting and the gender wage gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Ardila Brenøe & Ulf Zölitz, 2018. "Exposure to more female peers widens the gender gap in STEM participation," ECON - Working Papers 285, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:285
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    Cited by:

    1. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2022. "Gender Differences in STEM Persistence after Graduation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(356), pages 862-883, October.
    2. Chise Diana & Fort Margherita & Monfardini Chiara, 2021. "On the Intergenerational Transmission of STEM Education among Graduate Students," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(1), pages 115-145, January.
    3. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2019. "It’s not just for boys! Understanding Gender Differences in STEM," Working Papers 201905, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Delaney, Judith M. & Devereux, Paul J., 2021. "Gender differences in college applications: Aspiration and risk management," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    5. Diana Chise & Margherita Fort & Chiara Monfardini, 2020. "Scientifico! like Dad: On the Intergenerational Transmission of STEM Education," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2020-01, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    6. Grosch, Kerstin & Häckl, Simone & Kocher, Martin G., 2022. "Closing the gender STEM gap," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 329, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    7. Bietenbeck, Jan, 2020. "Own Motivation, Peer Motivation, and Educational Success," IZA Discussion Papers 13872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Griffith, Amanda L. & Main, Joyce B., 2019. "First impressions in the classroom: How do class characteristics affect student grades and majors?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 125-137.
    9. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2022. "Peers, gender, and long-term depression," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    10. McNally, Sandra, 2020. "Gender Differences in Tertiary Education: What Explains STEM Participation?," IZA Policy Papers 165, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. David Card & A. Abigail Payne, 2021. "High School Choices And The Gender Gap In Stem," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 59(1), pages 9-28, January.
    12. Delaney, Judith M. & Devereux, Paul J., 2019. "Understanding gender differences in STEM: Evidence from college applications✰," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 219-238.
    13. Stoddard, Olga B. & Karpowitz, Christopher F. & Preece, Jessica, 2020. "Strength in Numbers: A Field Experiment in Gender, Influence, and Group Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 13741, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Kerstin Grosch & Simone Haeckl & Martin G. Kocher, 2022. "Closing the Gender STEM Gap - A Large-Scale Randomized-Controlled Trial in Elementary Schools," CESifo Working Paper Series 9907, CESifo.
    15. Anne Ardila Brenøe, 2018. "Origins of gender norms: sibling gender composition and women's choice of occupation and partner," ECON - Working Papers 294, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    16. D. Chise & M. Fort & C. Monfardini, 2019. "Scientifico! like Dad: On the Intergenerational Transmission of STEM Education in Italy," Working Papers wp1138, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    17. Delaney, Judith & Devereux, Paul J., 2019. "Understanding Gender Differences in STEM: Evidence from College Applications," CEPR Discussion Papers 13558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Bleemer , Zachary & Mehta, Aashish, 2021. "College Major Restrictions and Student Stratification," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt513249vg, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; peer effects; STEM studies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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