nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2019‒02‒04
four papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. Planting the Seeds for Success: Why Women in STEM Don't Stick in The Field By Gabi Xuan Jiang
  2. Keep Calm and Carry On: Gender differences in Endurance By Della Giusta, Marina; Clot, Sophie; Di Girolamo, Amalia
  3. Does Society Influence the Gender Gap in Risk Attitudes? Evidence from East and West Germany By Cornelia Chadi; Uwe Jirjahn
  4. Variation in Women’s Success Across PhD Programs in Economics By Leah Platt Boustan; Andrew Langan

  1. By: Gabi Xuan Jiang
    Abstract: Women are underrepresented in both STEM college degrees and STEM jobs. Even with a STEM college degree, women are signifcantly 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 sorting on abilities. I use Purdue University's administrative data that contains every Purdue student's academic records linked to their first job information. 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 both 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 only make up 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, 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: Women; STEM; Major; Job; Gender Differences;
    JEL: I20 I23 J16 J24 J31
    Date: 2018–03
  2. By: Della Giusta, Marina; Clot, Sophie; Di Girolamo, Amalia
    Abstract: We investigate endurance, the capacity to maintain levels of performance through internal rather than external motivation in non-rewarding tasks and over sequences of tasks, though a lab experiment. The significant driver of performance is payment scheme order for women and payment schemes for men. Both women and men respond to social cues, through increased intrinsic motivation (ambition) for women and through extrinsic motivation (competition) for men. We suggest implications for reward schemes in the workplace and for selection into executive positions.
    Keywords: gender, intrinsic motivation, endurance, monetary incentives, biased beliefs
    JEL: J16 J71 M12 M51
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Cornelia Chadi; Uwe Jirjahn
    Abstract: Previous international research has shown that women are more risk averse than men. This gives rise to the question whether the gender gap in risk attitudes is shaped by the social environment. We address this question by examining risk attitudes among East and West Germans. Originated from different family policies during Germany’s separation, East Germans have more equal gender roles than West Germans. Thus, if the gender gap reflects socially constructed norms, it should be smaller among East Germans. Using data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), our empirical analysis confirms this prediction. Specifically with respect to career and financial matters, the gender gap in risk tolerance is smaller among East Germans. We find no evidence that the East German gender gap has converged to the higher West German level after reunification. By contrast, the West German gap has narrowed over time.
    Keywords: Risk Preferences, Gender Roles, Nurture, Family Policy
    JEL: D91 J16 P51
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Leah Platt Boustan; Andrew Langan
    Abstract: We document wide and persistent variation in women’s representation and success across graduate programs in economics. Using new data on early career outcomes for recent graduates, including first job placement, publications and promotion, we compare (anonymized) departments on outcomes for women relative to men graduating from the same program. We then conduct interviews with faculty and former students from five programs higher and lower relative outcomes. We find that departments with higher outcomes for women also hire more women faculty, facilitate advisor-student contact, provide collegial research seminars, and are notable for senior faculty with awareness of gender issues. We offer our qualitative evidence as the first step in learning about “what works” in expanding women’s representation in economics.
    JEL: A11 J16
    Date: 2019–01

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