Gender Differences in Persistence in a Field of Study

50 Pages Posted: 24 May 2021

See all articles by Michael Kaganovich

Michael Kaganovich

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Morgan Taylor

University of Georgia

Ruli Xiao

Indiana University; Indiana University

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Weaker retention of women in quantitatively oriented fields, particularly STEM* is widely seen in US higher education. This persistence gap is often explained by less generous grading in these fields and the conjectured tendency of female students to generally exhibit stronger “sensitivity” to grades. We examine student persistence in a wide spectrum of academic fields using a rich Indiana University Learning Analytics dataset. We find that the phenomenon of women’s relatively lower persistence in STEM in response to lower grades does not universally extend to other disciplines. Further, a stronger response, in terms of attrition, to grades received is not a gender-specific characteristic but more likely to reflect gender differences in the underlying field preferences. In other words, it is a weaker preference for a field of study that is likely to make students more responsive to grades received in it, rather than the other way around as is commonly suggested.

JEL Classification: I230, I240, J240, D210

Suggested Citation

Kaganovich, Michael and Taylor, Morgan and Xiao, Ruli and Xiao, Ruli, Gender Differences in Persistence in a Field of Study (2021). CESifo Working Paper No. 9087, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3849865 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3849865

Michael Kaganovich (Contact Author)

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Economics ( email )

Wylie Hall
Bloomington, IN 47405-6620
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Morgan Taylor

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Ruli Xiao

Indiana University ( email )

100 S Woodlawn Ave
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/iueconomicsrulixiao/

Indiana University ( email )

Wylie Hall
Bloomington, IN 47405-6620
United States

Do you want regular updates from SSRN on Twitter?

Paper statistics

Downloads
45
Abstract Views
157
PlumX Metrics