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Can Female Doctors Cure the Gender STEMM Gap? Evidence from Exogenously Assigned General Practitioners

Julie Riise, Barton Willage and Alexander Willén

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2022, vol. 104, issue 4, 621-635

Abstract: We use exogenously assigned general practitioners to study the effects of female role models on girls' educational outcomes. Girls who are exposed to female general practitioners are more likely to sort into male-dominated education programs in high school, most notably science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). These effects persist as they enter college and select majors. The effects are larger for high-ability girls with low-educated mothers, suggesting that female role models improve intergenerational mobility and narrow the gifted gap. This demonstrates that role model effects in education need not involve individuals in the classroom but can arise due to everyday interactions with medical professionals.

Date: 2022
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