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Girls' preferences for STEM and the effects of classroom gender composition: new evidence from a natural experiment


Pregaldini, Damiano; Backes-Gellner, Uschi; Eisenkopf, Gerald (2020). Girls' preferences for STEM and the effects of classroom gender composition: new evidence from a natural experiment. Swiss Leading House "Economics of Education" Working Paper 152, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We analyze how preferences for STEM fields moderate the effect of classroom gender composition on the math grades of girls in high school. Using data from Switzerland, we compare students who have self-selected into a STEM specialization with students who have self-selected into a language specialization. Our identification exploits the random assignment of students to classrooms after they have chosen their specialization. In contrast to the average effects found in previous studies, we find a negative effect of the proportion of female peers in the classroom on math grades for girls who have self-selected into the STEM specialization and a positive effect for girls who have self-selected into a language specialization. These results are important for policies affecting the gender composition of classrooms.

Abstract

We analyze how preferences for STEM fields moderate the effect of classroom gender composition on the math grades of girls in high school. Using data from Switzerland, we compare students who have self-selected into a STEM specialization with students who have self-selected into a language specialization. Our identification exploits the random assignment of students to classrooms after they have chosen their specialization. In contrast to the average effects found in previous studies, we find a negative effect of the proportion of female peers in the classroom on math grades for girls who have self-selected into the STEM specialization and a positive effect for girls who have self-selected into a language specialization. These results are important for policies affecting the gender composition of classrooms.

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Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:1 June 2020
Deposited On:10 Aug 2018 13:39
Last Modified:18 Mar 2022 09:48
Series Name:Swiss Leading House "Economics of Education" Working Paper
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0152_lhwpaper.pdf
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/190863/
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:16512

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