Journal article

HIGH SCHOOL CHOICES AND THE GENDER GAP INSTEM

David Card, A Abigail Payne

Economic Inquiry | Wiley | Published : 2021

Abstract

Women are less likely than men to graduate with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). We use detailed administrative data for a recent cohort of Ontario high school students, combined with data from the province's university admission system, to analyze the sources of this gap. We show that entry to STEM programs is mediated through an index of STEM readiness that depends on end‐of‐high school courses in math and science. Most of the gender gap in STEM entry can be traced to differences in the share of college entrants who are STEM‐ready; only a small share is attributable to differences in the choice of major conditional on readiness. We then use high school course d..

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Grants

Funding Acknowledgements

Data for this project were made available by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ontario University Applications Centre pursuant to data confidentiality agreements with the Public Economics Data Analysis Laboratory at McMaster. We are extremely grateful to Olesya Kotlyachkov and PEDAL staff for assistance in processing the data, and to Anna Sun for research assistance. We thank the editor and three helpful referees, as well as seminar participants at the CES-ifo Economics of Education workshop, the Association of Education Finance and Policy, the International Institute of Public Finance, the University of Sydney Department Seminar, and the Western Economics Association International annual meeting. Funding for this project was through SSHRC and Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.