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The puzzle of missing female engineers: Academic preparation, ability beliefs, and preferences

Ying Shi

Economics of Education Review, 2018, vol. 64, issue C, 129-143

Abstract: This paper uses administrative North Carolina data linked from high school to college and national surveys to characterize the largest contributor to the STEM gender gap: engineering. Disparities are the result of differential entry during high school or earlier rather than postsecondary exit. Differences in pre-college academic preparation account for 5 to 7% of the gap. Females’ relative lack of academic self-confidence explains 8%, while other-regarding preferences and professional goals capture a further 14%. Empirical evidence using identifying variation in the gender composition of twins in North Carolina shows that opposite-sex pairs are more likely to pursue gender-stereotypical majors.

Keywords: Economics of gender; Human capital; Occupational choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J24 I23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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