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Still staying away: Women and the economics major – evidence from two Southern liberal arts colleges

Fred Smith and Christina Zenker ()

Econometrics Letters, 2014, vol. 1, issue 2, 1-7

Abstract: This article extends the literature that examines the underlying reasons for the gender imbalance in the field of economics. Previous research suggests that women are less likely to major in economics because of the lack of female role models in the subject (Ashworth and Evans 1999), math anxiety (Dynan and Rouse 1997), and the influence of parents' education levels (Leppel 2001) and career preferences (Turner and Bowen 1999). These papers have focused on data collected from nonsectarian, coeducational institutions located in the Northern United States. We focus our analysis on the choice of major at two Southern liberal arts colleges, Davidson College, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, and Salem College, a women’s college that is affiliated with the Moravian Church. We find that women are still less likely to major in economics than men, and that attending a women’s college has no effect on this result. However, we find that the likelihood of majoring in economics rises if students have a female instructor for an economics course, if they have completed calculus in high school, or if they perceive that their job prospects are better after majoring in economics.

Keywords: Economics major; Undergraduate Economics; Gender; Liberal Arts Col.. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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