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The downside of good peers: How classroom composition differentially affects men's and women's STEM persistence

Stefanie Fischer ()

Labour Economics, 2017, vol. 46, issue C, 211-226

Abstract: This paper investigates whether class composition can help explain why women are disproportionately more likely to fall out of the “STEM” pipeline. Identification comes from a standardized enrollment process at a large public university that essentially randomly assigns freshmen to different mandatory introductory chemistry lectures. Using administrative data, I find that women who are enrolled in a class with higher ability peers are less likely to graduate with a STEM degree, while men's STEM persistence is unaffected. The effect is largest for women in the bottom third of the ability distribution. I rule out that this is driven solely by grades.

Keywords: Higher education; Gender; STEM; Classroom composition effects (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I23 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Working Paper: The Downside of Good Peers: How Classroom Composition Differentially Affects Men’s and Women’s STEM Persistence (2016) Downloads
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