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


Brenøe, Anne Ardila; Zölitz, Ulf (2020). Exposure to more female peers widens the gender gap in STEM participation. Journal of Labor Economics, 38(4):1009-1054.

Abstract

We investigate how high school gender composition affects students’ participation in STEM at college. 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 are less likely to work in STEM occupations, earn less, and have more children. Our findings show that the school peer environment has lasting effects on occupational sorting, the gender wage gap, and fertility.

Abstract

We investigate how high school gender composition affects students’ participation in STEM at college. 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 are less likely to work in STEM occupations, earn less, and have more children. Our findings show that the school peer environment has lasting effects on occupational sorting, the gender wage gap, and fertility.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Industrial Relations
Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Economics and econometrics, industrial relations
Language:English
Date:October 2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 11:07
Last Modified:01 Nov 2021 01:01
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0734-306X
Additional Information:Earlier published as ECON Working Paper No. 285 (see https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/151259/).
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/706646
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/151259/

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