Women's Colleges and Economics Major Choice: Evidence from Wellesley College Applicants
Abstract: Many observers argue that diversity in Economics and STEM fields is critical, not simply because of egalitarian goals, but because who is in a field may shape what is studied by it. If increasing the rate of majoring in mathematically-intensive fields among women is a worthy goal, then understanding whether women’s colleges causally affect that choice is important. Among all admitted applicants to Wellesley College, enrollees are 7.2 percentage points (94%) more likely to receive an Economics degree than non-enrollees (a plausible lower bound given negative selection into enrollment on math skills and major preferences). Overall, 3.2 percentage points—or 44% of the difference between enrollees and non-enrollees—is explained by college exposure to female instructors and students, consistent with a wider role for women’s colleges in increasing female participation in Economics.
File(s): File format is application/pdf https://doi.org/10.21033/wp-2023-21
Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Part of Series: Working Paper Series
Publication Date: 2023-04
Number: WP 2023-21