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NOVAFRICA Seminar: “Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models”

On Wednesday, June 28th, at 2.30pm, the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Danila Serra, from Southern Methodist University, to present her work.

Authors:
Danila Serra (Southern Methodist University)

Abstract:
Women have been traditionally underrepresented in several fields of study, notably those with the highest returns. While in the last two decades many disciplines, including mathematics and physical sciences, have made significant progress in attracting and retaining women, there has been little improvement in the field of economics, which remains heavily male-dominated. We report results from a field experiment aimed at increasing the percentage of women majoring in economics through exposure to carefully selected female role models. We randomly selected a subset of Principles of Economics classes to be assigned to our role model treatment. Since the same classes were also offered and taught by the same instructors the previous year, we are able to employ a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to test whether the role model intervention increased the percentage of women planning to major in economics (survey-based) and enrolling in intermediate economics classes (administrative data) the semester and year following the intervention. Our results suggest that, while the role model intervention had no impact on male students, it significantly increased female students’ likelihood of expressing interest in the economics major and enrolling in further economics classes.

Please see the paper here.

Please find further information about this seminar here.

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