DP16767 Adams and Eves: The Gender Gap in Economics Majors
|Author(s):||Graziella Bertocchi, Luca Bonacini, Marina Murat|
|Publication Date:||December 2021|
|Keyword(s):||Business Economics, economics, Education Gender Gap, Higher education, Major Choice, Major Switching, Mathematics, Stereotypes|
|JEL(s):||A22, I23, J16|
|Programme Areas:||Public Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16767|
We investigate the gender gap in Economics among bachelor's and master's graduates in Italy between 2010 and 2019. First we establish that being female exerts a negative impact on the choice to major in Economics: at the bachelor level, only 73 women graduate in Economics for every 100 men, with the mathematical content of high school curricula as the key driver of the effect and a persistence of the gap at the master level. Second, within a full menu of major choices, Economics displays the largest gap, followed by STEM and then Business Economics. Third, decomposition analyses expose a unique role for the math background in driving the Economics gender gap relative to other fields. Fourth, a triple difference analysis of a high school reform shows that an increase in the math content of traditionally low math curricula caused an increase in the Economics gender gap among treated students.