Publication : “Gender and Choices in Higher Education”

Publication : “Gender and Choices in Higher Education”

  • LIEPP Working PaperLIEPP Working Paper

In this Working Paper, Anne Boring and Jennifer Brown analyze data from a top-ranked French university that offers an undergraduate degree in the social sciences. The researchers focus their analysis on students’ choices for a mandatory third-year study-abroad program in which students spend an academic year at one of nearly 400 foreign universities. The authors find that despite having better grades on average, female students request lower-ranked universities than their male counterparts. The difference is especially pronounced among high-achieving students. The authors attribute some of the observed differences in choices to differences in male and female students’ preferences : women’s survey responses suggest that they not only value the academic reputation of the university, but other dimensions as well (such as enjoying the opportunity to live in a new country). These differences in preferences and educational choices are likely to have long-term consequences for men and women’s labor market outcomes, including job offers, career paths, and earnings. Finally, using a simulation, the authors consider a scenario where students’ assignments are determined only by the world ranking of the exchange universities and the students’ academic standing. Because female students request lower ranked exchange universities than their male peers in the actual data, the simulation assigns female students to higher ranked universities. 

Starting salaries and the percent of women within graduate degrees

 

Starting salaries and the percent of women within graduate degrees

Figure 1, Boring & Brown (2021)

In this graph, the authors show that female graduates from French universities are over-represented in fields of study that lead to lower paying jobs right after graduation.  

Read the Working Paper

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