nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2018‒12‒10
eight papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. Planting the Seeds for Success: Why Women in STEM Do Not Stick in the Field By Jiang, Xuan
  2. Does the Girl Next Door Affect Your Academic Outcomes and Career Choices? By Goulas, Sofoklis; Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Zhang, Yi
  3. Globalization, Gender, and the Family By Wolfgang Keller; Hâle Utar
  4. Biology and the gender gap in educational performance - The role of prenatal testosterone in test scores By Anne (A.C.) Gielen; Esmee Zwiers
  5. Educational policies and the gender gap in test scores: A cross-country analysis By Zoltan Hermann; Marianna Kopasz
  6. Gender and Promotions: Evidence from Academic Economists in France By Clément Bosquet; Pierre-Philippe Combes; Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa
  7. Can Education Reduce Traditional Gender Role Attitudes? By Noelia Rivera Garrido
  8. Academic Achievement and the Gender Composition of Preschool Staff By Gørtz, Mette; Johansen, Eva Rye; Simonsen, Marianne

  1. By: Jiang, Xuan
    Abstract: Women are underrepresented in both STEM college majors and STEM jobs. Even with a STEM college degree, women are significantly less likely to work in a STEM occupation than their male counterparts. This paper investigates whether men and women possess different ability distributions and examines how much the gender gap in major choice and job choice can be explained by gender differences in ability sorting. I use Purdue University's administrative data that contain every Purdue student's academic records linked to information on their first job. I apply an extended Roy model of unobserved heterogeneity allowing for endogenous choice with two sequential optimizing decisions: the choice between a STEM and non-STEM major and the choice between a STEM and non-STEM job. I find that abilities are significantly weaker determinants of major choice for women than for men. High-ability women give up $13,000{$20,000 in annual salary by choosing non-STEM majors. Those non-STEM high-ability women make up only 5.6% of the female sample, but their total gains|had they made the same decision as men|explain about 9.4% of the gender wage gap. Furthermore, the fact that female STEM graduates are less likely to stay in STEM is unrelated to the differences in ability sorting. Instead, women's home region may be important in women's job decisions; female STEM graduates who return to their home state are more likely to opt out of STEM.
    Keywords: Gender Differences in STEM, Choice of College Major, Choice of Job, Ability Sorting
    JEL: I20 I23 J16 J24 J31
    Date: 2018–10–01
  2. By: Goulas, Sofoklis (Stanford University); Megalokonomou, Rigissa (University of Queensland); Zhang, Yi (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Gender peer effects are potentially important for optimally organizing schools and neighborhoods. In this paper, we examine how the gender of classmates and neighbors affects a variety of high school outcomes and choice of university major. Given that students are assigned to schools based on proximity from their residential address, we define as neighbors all same-cohort peers who attend any other school within a 1-mile radius of one's school. To control for potentially confounding unobserved characteristics of schools and neighborhoods that might be correlated with peer gender composition, we exploit within-school and -neighborhood idiosyncratic variation in gender composition share across consecutive cohorts in the 12th grade. Using data for the universe of students in public schools in Greece between 2004 and 2009, we find that a higher share of females in a school or neighborhood improves both genders' subsequent scholastic performance, increases their university matriculation rates, renders them more likely to enroll in an academic university than a technical school, and affects their choice of university study. In addition, we find that only females are more likely to enroll in STEM degrees and target more lucrative occupations when they have more female peers in school or neighborhood. Based on our back-of-the-envelope calculations, a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of females in a school or neighborhood reduces the gender gap in STEM enrollments by 2% and 3%, respectively. We also find that (1) neighborhood peer effects are as large as school peer effects, and (2) the effects are nonlinear-namely, the effects are larger for school and neighborhood cohorts with a large majority of female peers.
    Keywords: gender peer effects, neighborhood effects, STEM university degrees
    JEL: J24 J21 J16 I24
    Date: 2018–10
  3. By: Wolfgang Keller; Hâle Utar
    Abstract: This paper shows that globalization has far-reaching implications for the economy’s fertility rate and family structure because they influence work-life balance. Employing population register data on new births, marriages, and divorces together with employer-employee linked data for Denmark, we show that lower labor market opportunities due to Chinese import competition lead to a shift towards family, with more parental leave taking and higher fertility as well as more marriages and fewer divorces. This pro-family, pro-child shift is driven largely by women, not men. Correspondingly, the negative earnings implications of the rising import competition are concentrated on women, and gender earnings inequality increases. We show that the choice of market versus family is a major determinant of worker adjustment costs to labor market shocks. While older workers respond to the shock rather similarly whether female or not, for young workers the fertility response takes away the adjustment advantage they typically have–if the worker is a woman. We find that the female biological clock–women have difficulties to conceive beyond their early forties–is central for the gender differential, rather than the composition of jobs and workplaces, as well as other potential causes.
    JEL: F16 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2018–11
  4. By: Anne (A.C.) Gielen (Erasmus University Rotterdam, IZA); Esmee Zwiers (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: This paper explores the contribution of biological factors in explaining gender differences in educational performance, with a particular focus on the role of prenatal testosterone. We exploit the fact that prenatal testosterone is hypothesized to transfer in-utero from a male twin to his twin sibling causing exogenous variation in exposure to prenatal testosterone in twins. By using Dutch administrative data and controlling for potential socialization effects, we find that girls with a twin brother score 7% of a standard deviation lower on math compared to girls with a twin sister. Adherence to traditional gender norms can explain this finding, implying that our results are not just driven by biology but materialize depending on environmental factors.
    Keywords: gender performance gap; twins; prenatal testosterone
    JEL: I20 J16
    Date: 2018–11–16
  5. By: Zoltan Hermann (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Corvinus University of Budapest); Marianna Kopasz (Institute for Political Science, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Girls tend to outperform boys in reading tests, while they usually lag behind boys in math. However, the size of the gender gap varies to a great extent between countries. While the existing literature explains these differences as being mainly due to cultural factors, this paper explores whether this cross-country variation is related to educational policies like tracking, grade retention, and individualised teaching practices. The gender test score gap is analysed in math, reading and science using the PISA 2012 dataset. Multilevel models are used in the estimation. The results suggest that the extent of the gender gap is indeed associated with certain characteristics of the various education systems. First, applying a difference-in-differences estimation method, it was found that early tracking has a direct effect on the gender gap in test scores, in favour of girls. Second, suggestive evidence shows that more student-oriented teaching practices also benefit girls relative to boys, both between and within countries, and within schools. Finally, grade retention is correlated with the gender gap, though there is further evidence suggesting that this correlation is very unlikely to represent a causal effect.
    Keywords: gender stratification, tracking, grade retention, teaching practice, PISA, multilevel model, difference-in-differences
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2018–11
  6. By: Clément Bosquet (Spatial Economic Research Center); Pierre-Philippe Combes (Département d'économie); Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa (Aix-Marseille School of Economics (CNRS / AMU / EHESS))
    Abstract: The promotion system for French academic economists provides an interesting environment to examine the promotion gap between men and women. Promotions occur through national competitions for which we have information both on candidates and on those eligible to be candidates. We can then examine the two stages of the process: application and success. Women are less likely to seek promotion, and this accounts for up to 76% of the promotion gap. Being a woman also reduces the probability of promotion conditional on applying, although the gender difference is not statistically significant. Our results highlight the importance of the decision to apply.
    Keywords: Gender gaps; Professional advancement; Competition
    JEL: J16 J7 I23
    Date: 2018–03
  7. By: Noelia Rivera Garrido (Dpto. Fundamentos del Análisis Económico)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to identify if there is a causal relationship between education and traditional gender-role attitudes. In particular, if women have to leave the labor market to take care of the family, and if men have more rights to a job than women when jobs are scarce. In addition, I explore plausible mechanisms through which education affects these attitudes. I use data from the European Social Survey for 14 European countries. My identification strategy exploits educational reforms changing the number of years of compulsory education to obtain a source of exogenous variation that can be used as an instrument for education. The first stage results show that education reforms certainly increase years of schooling, but only for individuals from a low-educated family, in particular women. Results indicate that for this group, one additional year of education significantly reduces the probability of agreeing with women’s traditional gender role in more than 11 percentage points.
    Keywords: Education, Compulsory schooling reforms, Gender-role attitudes, Gender inequality, Europe.
    JEL: A13 I21 I24 J16 J24
    Date: 2018–11
  8. By: Gørtz, Mette (University of Copenhagen); Johansen, Eva Rye (Aarhus University); Simonsen, Marianne (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: This paper uses register based data covering the entire population of Danish children enrolled in preschool in 2006-2007 to investigate whether the gender composition of preschool staff members affects the timing of school start and subsequent academic performance. To estimate effects of the share of male staff member in preschools, we exploit within-preschool differences in teacher gender composition across time. We find that the share of male staff improves child outcomes and that gains are larger for boys who did not have access to male teachers previously and among children with less readily access to male role models.
    Keywords: preschool, teacher gender, redshirting, child development
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2018–10

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