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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. Delaney, Judith & Devereux, Paul, 2019. "It's not just for boys! Understanding gender differences in STEM," Papers WP617, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2020. "Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression," CEPR Discussion Papers 14681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Chise, Diana & Fort, Margherita & Monfardini, Chiara, 2019. "Scientifico! like Dad: On the Intergenerational Transmission of STEM Education in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 12688, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. 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.
    8. Bietenbeck, Jan, 2020. "Own Motivation, Peer Motivation, and Educational Success," IZA Discussion Papers 13872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; peer effects; STEM studies;

    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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